Seascape genetics of the stalked kelp Pterygophora californica and comparative population genetics in the Santa Barbara Channel.

08:00 EDT 12th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Seascape genetics of the stalked kelp Pterygophora californica and comparative population genetics in the Santa Barbara Channel."

We conducted a population genetic analysis of the stalked kelp, Pterygophora californica, in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, USA. The results were compared with previous work on the genetic differentiation of giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, in the same region. These two sympatric kelps share many life history and dispersal characteristics, but also differ in that dislodged P. californica does not produce floating rafts with buoyant fertile sporophytes, commonly observed for M. pyrifera. We used a comparative population genetic approach with these two species to test the hypothesis that the ability to produce floating rafts increases the genetic connectivity among kelp patches in the Santa Barbara Channel. We quantified the association of habitat continuity and oceanographic distance with the genetic differentiation observed in stalked kelp, like previously conducted for giant kelp. We compared both overall (across all patches) and pairwise (between patches) genetic differentiation. We found that oceanographic transit time, habitat continuity, and geographic distance were all associated with genetic connectivity in P. californica, supporting similar previous findings for M. pyrifera. Controlling for differences in heterozygosity between kelp species using Jost's D , we showed that global and pairwise differentiation were similar among patches between the two kelp species indicating that they have similar dispersal capabilities despite their differences in rafting ability. These results suggest that rafting sporophytes do not play a significant role in effective dispersal of M. pyrifera at ecologically relevant spatial and temporal scales.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Journal of phycology
ISSN: 1529-8817


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A genus of BROWN ALGAE in the family Lessoniaceae, and one of the major forms of KELP. The species Macrocystis pyrifera, also known as giant kelp, is the largest of the marine algae.

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