Infraspecific zoogeography of the Mediterranean: population genetic analysis on sixteen Atlanto-Mediterranean species (fishes and invertebrates)

TitleInfraspecific zoogeography of the Mediterranean: population genetic analysis on sixteen Atlanto-Mediterranean species (fishes and invertebrates)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsBorsa, P, Naciri M, Bahri L, Chikhi L, Garcia de Leon FJ, Kotoulas G, Bonhomme F
JournalZoogeographie infra-specifique de la Mer Mediterranee: analyse des donnees genetiques populationnelles sur seize especes atlanto-mediterraneennes (poissons et invertebres)Vie et Milieu
Volume47
Issue4
Pages295 - 305
Abstract

The faunal relationships of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean have been affected by tectonic change in the Miocene, by climate change in the Pleistocene and by hydrological discontinuity. We use a population genetics approach to the biogeography of the Mediterranean marine fauna, in particular to describe the level of recent or present-day exchanges with the Atlantic. The level of genetic differences between populations was estimated from published and unpublished data on sixteen species from the northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. For a majority of species, either tropical or subtropical or boreal fishes, or coastal invertebrates, a moderately strong to strong genetic cline between each side of the Gibraltar strait area was observed. Such a pattern was also observed in a proportion of species between each side of the Sicilian-Tunisian strait. In a limited number of cases, the geographic patterns of population genetic structure however conformed with the expectations from an isolation-by-distance model. The molecular phylogeographic approach in a boreal species, the flounder Platichthys flesus, led to the inferrence of the historical movements of colonisation and geographic isolation of the populations. A similar approach used in a tropical species (the Spanish sardine Sardinella aurita) and a cosmopolitan species (the grey mullet Mugil cephalus) revealed close genetic relationships between Mediterranean and west-tropical Atlantic populations. We analyse the possible implications of these findings to the systematics of the Mediterranean populations and we speculate about the future of boreal species vis-a-vis the present climatic change. We debate on various hypotheses for the maintaining of abrupt genetic clines in the marine environment.

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