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The phylogeographical and management implications of genetic population structure in the imperiled snuffbox mussel, Epioblasma triquetra (Bivalvia: Unionidae)

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Seven populations of the imperiled snuffbox mussel, Epioblasma triquetra, were sampled from across the central basin of North America. Samples were genotyped using 15 microsatellite DNA loci, and maternal history was inferred using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome c oxidase subunit-I (COI) sequences. Populations in the Clinch and St Francis rivers were quite distinct in their mtDNA. The population in the St Francis River had a unique, fixed haplotype. Among a suite of haplotypes, the population in the Clinch River had two unique haplotypes of common ancestry. The other populations were dominated by a common haplotype, which also occurred in the Clinch River population. Analysis of DNA microsatellites revealed much greater divergences and showed significant genetic structure between populations in the formerly glaciated regions. Divergence has occurred between the populations, as evidenced by moderate to high fixation indices (FST and RST values) and nearly perfect assignment tests. These results indicate the occurrence of three glacial refugia for E. triquetra: the Tennessee River, rivers south of the Ozark Crest, and the lower Ohio River drainage near the confluence with the Mississippi. Populations in the lower Ohio River were likely to be responsible for the postglacial reinvasion into formerly glaciated regions, and into the upper Tennessee River drainage. The population of the St Francis River may constitute a distinct taxonomic entity. Conservation efforts, if necessary for this imperiled species, should not mix populations. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 93, 371–384.
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Keywords: conservation genetics; freshwater mussels; microsatellite DNA; mtDNA; population genetics; postglacial redistribution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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