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Population genetics, gene flow, and biogeographical boundaries of Carcinus aestuarii (Crustacea: Brachyura: Carcinidae) along the European Mediterranean coast

June 26, 2013

Carcinus aestuarii Nardo, 1847 is a widespread coastal crab species throughout the Mediterranean Sea with a pelagic larval phase. This species tolerates a wide range of environmental conditions and typically inhabits fragmented habitats, such as embayments, lagoons and estuaries. It is therefore a good candidate species for studying and testing different phylogeographical hypotheses in the Mediterranean Sea. By contrast to its Atlantic sister species, Carcinus maenas, studies on the population genetic structure of C. aestuarii in its native range are still scarce. In the present study, specimens from along the European Mediterranean Sea were collected and DNA-sequenced and analyses were applied to discriminate between present day and historical factors influencing the population genetic structure of this species. The results obtained demonstrate the existence of two genetically distinct geographical groups, corresponding to the eastern and western Mediterranean, with further subdivision within the East Mediterranean Basin. A strong asymmetric gene flow was recorded toward the Eastern Basin, which may play a crucial role in shaping the present day biogeographical patterns of this species and potentially other sympatric ones with pelagic larvae. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013

Ragionieri L, Schubart C D, in press. Population genetics, gene flow, and biogeographical boundaries of Carcinus aestuarii (Crustacea: Brachyura: Carcinidae) along the European Mediterranean coast, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, doi:10.1111/bij.12099. Article.

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