Identifying environmental factors associated with the genetic structure of the New Zealand scallop: linking seascape genetics and ecophysiological tolerance

Silva, Catarina N.S., and Gardner, Jonathan P.A. (2016) Identifying environmental factors associated with the genetic structure of the New Zealand scallop: linking seascape genetics and ecophysiological tolerance. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73 (7). pp. 1925-1934.

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Understanding the processes responsible for shaping the spatial genetic patterns of species is critical for predicting evolutionary dynamics and defining significant evolutionary and/or management units. Here, we investigated the potential role of environmental factors in shaping the genetic structure of the endemic New Zealand scallop Pecten novaezelandiae using a seascape genetics approach. For this, we assayed genetic variation at 12 microsatellite markers in 952 individuals collected from 14 sites throughout New Zealand, and used data for 9 site-specific environmental variables (3 geospatial and 6 environmental variables). Our results indicate that a combination of environmental factors may be contributing to the observed patterns of genetic differentiation, but in particular, freshwater discharge and suspended particulate matter concentration were identified as being important. Environmental variation in these parameters may be acting as a barrier to gene flow. In terms of their ecophysiology, scallops are not particularly tolerant of high concentrations of either freshwater input or suspended sediment, making the identification of an association between these environmental variables and genetic variation particularly relevant across the full distributional range of this species. Although geographic distance between populations was also an important variable explaining the genetic variation among populations, it appears that levels of genetic differentiation are not a simple function of interpopulation distance. This study has identified previously unknown environmental factors that may be acting on the genetic structure of the New Zealand scallop and highlights the utility of seascape genetic studies to better understand the processes shaping the genetic structure of organisms.

Item ID: 48859
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-9289
Keywords: barriers to gene flow, environmental variability, freshwater input, New Zealand, Pecten novaezelandiae, scallop, seascape genetics, suspended sediment
Funders: New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (NZMPI), Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
Projects and Grants: NZMPI ZBD2009-10
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 21:44
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310599 Genetics not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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