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Temporal Stability of Genetic Structure in a Mesopelagic Copepod.


ABSTRACT: Although stochasticity in oceanographic conditions is known to be an important driver of temporal genetic change in many marine species, little is known about whether genetically distinct plankton populations can persist in open ocean habitats. A prior study demonstrated significant population genetic structure among oceanic gyres in the mesopelagic copepod Haloptilus longicornis in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and we hypothesized that populations within each gyre represent distinct gene pools that persist over time. We tested this expectation through basin-scale sampling across the Atlantic Ocean in 2010 and 2012. Using both mitochondrial (mtCOII) and microsatellite markers (7 loci), we show that the genetic composition of populations was stable across two years in both the northern and southern subtropical gyres. Genetic variation in this species was partitioned among ocean gyres (FCT = 0.285, P < 0.0001 for mtCOII, FCT = 0.013, P < 0.0001 for microsatellites), suggesting strong spatial population structure, but no significant partitioning was found among sampling years. This temporal persistence of population structure across a large geographic scale was coupled with chaotic genetic patchiness at smaller spatial scales, but the magnitude of genetic differentiation was an order of magnitude lower at these smaller scales. Our results demonstrate that genetically distinct plankton populations persist over time in highly-dispersive open ocean habitats, and this is the first study to rigorously test for temporal stability of large scale population structure in the plankton.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4547763 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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