Regional patterns of genetic structure among Australian populations of the mud crab, Scylla serrata (Crustacea: Decapoda): evidence from mitochondrial DNA

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Gopurenko, D
Hughes, JM
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2002
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Abstract

The population genetic structure of the estuarine crab, Scylla serrata (Forsk嬬 1775), was examined among shelf-connected locations and across a historical bio-geographic barrier. Over 300 individuals were sampled from multiple locations within coastal regions (western, northern and eastern) of Australia and analysed for mutational differences at a mitochondrial coding gene (COI). Analysis of molecular variance indicated mitochondrial haplotypes to be structured regionally (P < 0.001), which contrasted with evidence of genetic panmixia within regions. Regional genetic structure broadly correlated with hydrological circulation, supporting the contention that release of propagules away from the estuary may allow genetic connectivity among widespread shelf-connected S. serrata populations. That similar patterns of maternal gene flow are absent among trans-oceanic populations may indicate that the spatial scale of effective dispersal for this species is generally limited to areas of coastal shelf. Two distinct clades of haplotypes were geographically separated either side of the Torres Strait, a narrow sea channel connecting the northern and eastern regions of coastal Australia. This pattern of historical genetic separation is concordant with a number of other marine species across northern Australia and may indicate a shared history of vicariance induced by eustasy. Alternatively, we suggest that sundering of S. serrata populations resulting in cladogenesis may have its origins outside of the northern Australian region.

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Marine and freshwater research

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53

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