Landscape genetic structure of Scirpus mariqueter reveals a putatively adaptive differentiation under strong gene flow in estuaries

Mei Yang, Chengyuan Xu, Pierre Duchesne, Qiang Ma, Ganqiang Yin, Yang Fang, Fan Lu, Wenju Zhang

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Abstract

Estuarine organisms grow in highly heterogeneous habitats, and their genetic differentiation is driven by selective and neutral processes as well as population colonization history. However, the relative importance of the processes that underlie genetic structure is still puzzling. Scirpus mariqueter is a perennial grass almost limited in the Changjiang River estuary and its adjacent Qiantang River estuary. Here, using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), a moderate-high level of genetic differentiation among populations (range F ST : 0.0310–0.3325) was showed despite large ongoing dispersal. FLOCK assigned all individuals to 13 clusters and revealed a complex genetic structure. Some genetic clusters were limited in peripheries compared with very mixing constitution in center populations, suggesting local adaptation was more likely to occur in peripheral populations. 21 candidate outliers under positive selection were detected, and further, the differentiation patterns correlated with geographic distance, salinity difference, and colonization history were analyzed with or without the outliers. Combined results of AMOVA and IBD based on different dataset, it was found that the effects of geographic distance and population colonization history on isolation seemed to be promoted by divergent selection. However, none-liner IBE pattern indicates the effects of salinity were overwhelmed by spatial distance or other ecological processes in certain areas and also suggests that salinity was not the only selective factor driving population differentiation. These results together indicate that geographic distance, salinity difference, and colonization history co-contributed in shaping the genetic structure of S. mariqueter and that their relative importance was correlated with spatial scale and environment gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3059-3074
Number of pages16
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

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