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Spatial and temporal genetic homogeneity in the Arctic surfclam (Mactromeris polynyma)
Cassista, M.C.; Hart, M.W. (2007). Spatial and temporal genetic homogeneity in the Arctic surfclam (Mactromeris polynyma). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 152(3): 569-579.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cassista, M.C.
  • Hart, M.W.

    Commercially harvested marine bivalve populations show a broad range of population-genetic patterns that may be driven by planktonic larval dispersal (gene flow) or by historical (genetic drift) and ecological processes (selection). We characterized microsatellite genetic variation among populations and year classes of the commercially harvested Arctic surfclam, Mactromeris polynyma, in order to test the relative significance of gene flow and drift on three spatial scales: within commercially harvested populations in the northwest Atlantic; among Atlantic populations; and between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We found small nonsignificant genetic subdivision among eight populations from the northwest Atlantic (F ST = 0.002). All of these Atlantic populations were highly significantly differentiated from a northeast Pacific population (F ST = 0.087); all populations showed high inbreeding coefficients (F IS = 0.432). We tested one likely source of heterozygote deficits by aging individual clams and exploring genetic variation among age classes within populations (a temporal Wahlund effect). Populations showed strikingly different patterns of age structure, but we found little differentiation among age classes. In one case, we were able to analyze genetic diversity between age classes older or younger than the advent of intensive commercial harvesting. The results generally suggest spatially broad and temporally persistent genetic homogeneity of these bivalves. We discuss the implications of the results for the biology and management of surfclam populations.

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