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Contrasting population structures in two sympatric fishes in the Baltic Sea basin
DeFaveri, J.; Shikano, T.; Ghani, N.I.A.; Merilä, J. (2012). Contrasting population structures in two sympatric fishes in the Baltic Sea basin. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(8): 1659-1672.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • DeFaveri, J.
  • Shikano, T.
  • Ghani, N.I.A.
  • Merilä, J.

    Detailed multispecies studies on the patterns of genetic variability and differentiation in marine environments are still rare. Using mitochondrial and nuclear genetic markers, we compared genetic variability and population structuring of threespine (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and ninespine (Pungitius pungitius) sticklebacks from the same eleven marine and six freshwater locations within the Baltic Sea basin. Analyses of both marker types revealed a significantly lower degree of genetic structuring in both marine and freshwater populations of threespine than those ninespine sticklebacks. Isolation-by-distance (IBD) was detected across the marine populations in both species, suggesting spatially limited gene flow. However, the levels of genetic diversity and differentiation across the localities were uncorrelated between the two species in both marine and freshwater environments. Accordingly, estimates of effective population sizes were larger and migration rates were higher for three- than for ninespine sticklebacks. Hence, ninespine stickleback populations from the Baltic Sea basin appear to be subject to stronger genetic drift than sympatric threespine sticklebacks, and the proximate reason for this difference is likely to be found from autecological differences between the two species. In accordance with the earlier studies, genetic variability was higher and the degree of genetic differentiation was lower in marine than in freshwater populations in both species.

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