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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 15:114

First Online: 15 June 2015Received: 25 September 2014Accepted: 22 May 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12862-015-0387-0

Cite this article as: Wang, J., Tsang, L.M. & Dong, YW. BMC Evol Biol 2015 15: 114. doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0387-0


BackgroundSubstrate, ocean current and freshwater discharge are recognized as important factors that control the larval dispersal and recruitment of intertidal species. Life history traits of individual species will determine the differential responses to these physical factors, and hence resulting in contrasting phylogeography across the same biogeographic barrier. To determine how these factors affect genetic structure of rocky shore species along the China coast, a comparative phylogeographic study of four intertidal and subtidal species was conducted using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA by combining new sequences from Siphonaria japonica with previously published sequences from three species Cellana toreuma, Sargassum horneri and Atrina pectinata.

ResultsAnalysis of molecular variance and pairwise ΦST revealed significant genetic differences between the Yellow Sea YS and the other two marginal seas East China Sea, ECS and South China Sea, SCS for rocky-shore species S. japonica, C. toreuma, S. horneri, but not for muddy-shore species Atrina pectinata. Demographic history analysis proved that the population size of all these four species were persistent though the Last Glacial Maximum LGM, ~20 ka BP. Migration analysis revealed that gene flow differentiated northward and southward migration for these four species. However, the inferred direction of gene flow using alternatively mitochondrial or nuclear markers was contradictory in S. japonica.

ConclusionsIt is concluded that there is a phylogeographical break at the Yangtze River estuary for the rocky shore species and the causation of the barrier is mainly due to the unsuitable substratum and freshwater discharge. All four intertidal and subtidal species appear to have persisted through the LGM in China, indicating the lower impact of LGM on intertidal and subtidal species than generally anticipated. The imbalanced gene flow between YS and ESCS groups for these four species could be explained by historical refugia. The discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear markers in the MIGRATE analysis of S. japonica prove the importance of employing multi-locus data in biogeographic study. Climate change, land reclamation and dam construction, which are changing substrate and hydrological conditions around Yangtze River estuary, will consequently affect the biogeographic pattern of intertidal species.

KeywordsFreshwater discharge Rocky shore species Life history Ocean current Population structure Substrate Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12862-015-0387-0 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Jie Wang - Ling Ming Tsang - Yun-Wei Dong


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