Understanding how historical and contemporary processes shaped and maintain spatial patterns of genetic diversity is a mayor goal for conservation biologists.
This study characterized the pattern of neutral genetic diversity and inferred underlying processes in the habitat-forming octocoral Paramuricea clavata in the Adriatic Sea, a peculiar phylogeographic region of the Mediterranean Sea.
The obtained results show a significant decrease in genetic diversity, and an increase of the frequencies of individual alleles form the south to the north of the area were observed as expected after a postglacial sequential recolonization.
It is concluded that oceanographic barriers to gene flow combined to the restricted dispersal of P. clavata likely maintain the observed patterns. The authors suggest that the latitudinal genetic gradients results from a northward “serial founder events” recolonization.
The authors highlight the need to broaden the usual perspective focused on contemporary processes in marine conservation and to consider processes acting on different temporal scales when designing management plans for these species.
Ledoux et al. (2018) Postglacial range expansion shaped the spatial genetic structure in a marine habitat-forming species: Implications for conservation plans in the Eastern Adriatic Sea. Journal of Biogeography doi: 10.1111/jbi.13461.