Genetic population structure of European sprat (Sprattus sprattus L.): differentiation across a steep environmental gradient in a small pelagic fish

Morten Limborg, Jes S. Pedersen, Jakob Hemmer Hansen, Jonna Tomkiewicz, Dorte Bekkevold

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Factors such as oceanographic retention, isolation by distance and secondary contact zones have, among others, been suggested to explain the low, but statistically significant, neutral population structure observed in many marine fishes. European sprat Sprattus sprattus is not known to display philopatric spawning behaviour or to exhibit local retention of eggs and larvae. It thus constitutes a good model for studying population structure in a characteristic small pelagic fish with high dispersal potential and an opportunistic life history. We analysed 931 specimens of sprat from nine spawning locations in and around the North- and Baltic Sea area and from a geographically distant population from the Adriatic Sea. Analyses of nine microsatellite loci revealed a sharp genetic division separating samples from the Northeastern Atlantic and the Baltic Sea (pairwise θ = 0.019–0.035), concurring with a steep salinity gradient. We found, at most, weak structure among samples within the Northeastern Atlantic region and within the Baltic Sea (pairwise θ = 0.001–0.009). The Adriatic Sea population was highly differentiated from all northern samples (pairwise θ = 0.071–0.092). Overall, the observed population structure resembles that of most other marine fishes studied in the North/Baltic Sea areas. Nevertheless, spatially explicit differences are observed among species, likely reflecting specific life-histories. Such fine-scale population structure should be taken into account, e.g. in ecosystem-based stock management
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume379
Pages (from-to)213-224
ISSN0171-8630
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic population structure of European sprat (Sprattus sprattus L.): differentiation across a steep environmental gradient in a small pelagic fish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this