A puzzle with many pieces: the genetic structure and diversity of Phaeocystis antarctica Karsten (Prymnesiophyta)

Tanja.Glawatty [ at ] awi.de


Strong ocean current systems characterize the Southern Ocean. The genetic structure of marine phytoplankton species is believed to depend mainly on currents. Genetic estimates of the relatedness of populations of phytoplankton species therefore should provide a proxy showing to what extent different geographic regions are interconnected by the ocean current systems. In this study, spatial and temporal patterns of genetic diversity were studied in the circumpolar prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis antarctica Karsten using seven nuclear microsatellite loci. Analyses were conducted for 86 P. antarctica isolates sampled around the Antarctic continent between 1982 and 2007. The results revealed high genetic diversity without single genotypes recurring even among isolates within a bloom or originating from the same bucket of water. Populations of P. antarctica were significantly differentiated among the oceanic regions. However, some geographically distant populations were more closely related to each other than they were to other geographically close populations. Temporal haplotype turnover within regions was also suggested by the multilocus fingerprints. Our data suggest that even within blooms of P. antarctica genetic diversity and population sizes are large but exchange between different regions can be limited. Positive and significant inbreeding coefficients hint at further regional substructure of populations, suggesting that patches, once isolated from one another, may not reconnect. These data emphasize that even for planktonic species in a marine ecosystem that is influenced by strong currents, significant breaks in gene flow may occur.

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DOI 10.1080/09670262.2014.998295

Cite as
Gäbler-Schwarz, S. , Medlin, L. K. and Leese, F. (2015): A puzzle with many pieces: the genetic structure and diversity of Phaeocystis antarctica Karsten (Prymnesiophyta) , European Journal of Phycology, 50 (1), pp. 112-124 . doi: 10.1080/09670262.2014.998295

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ANT > XXII > 4

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