Variation of genetic and behavioural traits in the sandhopper Talitrus saltator (Crustacea Amphipoda) along a dynamic sand beach

TitleVariation of genetic and behavioural traits in the sandhopper Talitrus saltator (Crustacea Amphipoda) along a dynamic sand beach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsKetmaier, V, Matthaeis ED, Fanini L, Rossano C, Scapini F
JournalEthology Ecology and Evolution
Volume22
Issue1
Pages17 - 35
Keywordscytochrome oxidase I, mitochondrial DNA, orientation, sandy beach, Talitrus saltator
Abstract

In an attempt to unravel the possible relationships among coastal stability, genetic variability and orientation behaviour in the sandhopper Talitrus saltator, we have screened four subpopulations of this species. Sandhoppers along 3 km of a dynamic sand beach were studied for orientation performance (i.e. adherence to the seaward theoretical escape direction (TED)) and sequence variation for a fragment of the mitochondrial (mt) gene encoding for the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI). The sampling sites differed in the stability of the shoreline (from severely eroded to accreting). Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed significant subdivisions among the four locations. The subpopulation sampled at the most eroded point showed no haplotype diversity and had the highest scatter in orientation. Genetic diversity increased with decreasing erosion. Orientation performances were best where the beach is in dynamic equilibrium, and were progressively more scattered at the accreting points. Multiple linear regression analyses demonstrated that the variables and factors that affected orientation significantly were daytime, global solar radiation, sex of individuals and haplotype diversity. Environmental factors are likely to influence sandhopper behaviour on a short and medium time scale (i.e. from single individual life span to a few generations). The data also suggest that temporal stability of the shoreline has a positive effect on the genetic variability of the resident sandhopper populations. © 2010 Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica dell'Universitá.

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