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Complex spatial clonal structure in the macroalgae Fucus radicans with both sexual and asexual recruitment

Journal article
Authors Angelica Ardehed
Daniel H Johansson
E. Schagerstrom
L. Kautsky
Kerstin Johannesson
Ricardo T. Pereyra
Published in Ecology and Evolution
Volume 5
Issue 19
Pages 4233-4245
ISSN 2045-7758
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 4233-4245
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1629
Keywords asexual reproduction, clonality, macroalgae, microsatellites, somatic mutations, BRACKISH BALTIC SEA, GENETIC-STRUCTURE, AUTOCORRELATION ANALYSIS, ZOSTERA-MARINA, SEAWEEDS FUCUS, MATING SYSTEM, PHAEOPHYCEAE, REPRODUCTION, VESICULOSUS, POPULATIONS
Subject categories Marine ecology, Zoology

Abstract

In dioecious species with both sexual and asexual reproduction, the spatial distribution of individual clones affects the potential for sexual reproduction and local adaptation. The seaweed Fucus radicans, endemic to the Baltic Sea, has separate sexes, but new attached thalli may also form asexually. We mapped the spatial distribution of clones (multilocus genotypes, MLGs) over macrogeographic (>500km) and microgeographic (<100m) scales in the Baltic Sea to assess the relationship between clonal spatial structure, sexual recruitment, and the potential for natural selection. Sexual recruitment was predominant in some areas, while in others asexual recruitment dominated. Where clones of both sexes were locally intermingled, sexual recruitment was nevertheless low. In some highly clonal populations, the sex ratio was strongly skewed due to dominance of one or a few clones of the same sex. The two largest clones (one female and one male) were distributed over 100-550km of coast and accompanied by small and local MLGs formed by somatic mutations and differing by 1-2 mutations from the large clones. Rare sexual events, occasional long-distance migration, and somatic mutations contribute new genotypic variation potentially available to natural selection. However, dominance of a few very large (and presumably old) clones over extensive spatial and temporal scales suggested that either these have superior traits or natural selection has only been marginally involved in the structuring of genotypes.

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