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Influence of historical events and contemporary estuarine circulation on the genetic structure of the banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) in the  St. Lawrence River (Quebec, Canada)

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Eight microsatellite markers were used to examine the historical and contemporary factors influencing the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations of Fundulus diaphanus (Lesueur, 1817) in the St. Lawrence River. Our results show that the contemporary hydrodynamics of the river affect levels of diversity and differentiation in this species. Genetic diversity increased towards downstream sites and levelled off at the upstream end of the tidal section, in the vicinity of Lake St-Pierre outlet. Likewise, differentiation and isolation-by-distance were most pronounced in the upstream, strictly fluvial section of the river. Surprisingly, however, we did not detect any significant intershore differentiation in this riparian fish species. Historical influence was also clearly detected and transcended the contemporary pattern, as revealed by an extremely strong isolation-by-distance pattern along the entire river stretch. This pattern likely results from the historical, postglacial secondary contact between two glacial races, as indicated by the clinal variation of constrasting allele size frequency distributions along the river and the significantly greater values of differentiation indices considering mutational information.

Huit marqueurs microsatellites ont servi à évaluer l’influence des facteurs historiques et contemporains sur la distribution de la variation génétique au sein des populations et entre les populations de Fundulus diaphanus (Lesueur, 1817) dans le fleuve St-Laurent. Nos résultats montrent que les conditions hydrodynamiques actuelles de la rivière affectent les niveaux de diversité et de différenciation chez cette espèce de poisson. La diversité génétique augmente vers l’aval et se stabilise à l’extrémité amont de l’estuaire fluvial, près du lac St-Pierre. De façon similaire, la différenciation et le patron d’isolement par la distance sont plus prononcés dans la section amont et strictement fluviale du fleuve. Étonnamment, nous n’avons pas détecté de différenciation génétique entre les deux rives du fleuve chez ce poisson littoral. Par ailleurs, un patron d’isolement très prononcé sur toute la longueur du fleuve indique que la différenciation génétique actuelle a également été façonnée par des processus historiques. La recolonisation postglaciaire et le contact secondaire entre deux races glaciaires sont vraisemblablement responsables de la variation clinale des distributions de fréquence de tailles d’allèles distinctes ainsi que du niveau de différenciation significativement supérieur que procurent les estimations tenant compte des informations mutationnelles.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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