Title
The evolutionary mechanism maintaining shell shape and molecular differentiation between two ecotypes of the dogwhelk **Nucella lapillus **The evolutionary mechanism maintaining shell shape and molecular differentiation between two ecotypes of the dogwhelk **Nucella lapillus **
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Research group
Evolutionary ecology group (EVECO)
Publication type
article
Publication
London,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Evolutionary ecology. - London
Volume/pages
23(2009):2, p. 261-280
ISSN
0269-7653
ISI
000263362600007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Two ecotypes of Nucella lapillus can occur allopatrically or sympatrically, according to different degrees of wave exposure and microhabitats, on rocky shores of NW Spain. We studied differences in shell size and shape in adults and families of shelled embryos captured in the wild, and molecular variation at 9 microsatellite loci and 4 mtDNA regions. Both adults and shelled embryos of the two ecotypes showed significant differences in size and shell-shape components (the most important being size of the shell aperture). Strong among-family variation suggests that shell-shape variation has an important genetic component, and the pattern of genetic differentiation was in agreement with traits being affected by divergent natural selection. No significant overall molecular differentiation was observed between the two ecotypes for mtDNA, although we found significant genetic structure at two microsatellite loci. Microsatellite differentiation between ecotypes at these two loci was larger in sympatry than in allopatry. These results and the comparison of tenacity suggest that the two forms are distinctly adapted to differences in shore level and degree of exposure to wave action.
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