The influence of pleistocene climatic changes and ocean currents on the phylogeography of the Southern African Barnacle, Tetraclita serrata (Thoracica; Cirripedia)

Reynolds, Terry V. ; Matthee, Conrad A. ; Von Der Heyden, Sophie (2014-07)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

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Please cite as follows:

Reynolds, T. V., Matthee, C. A., & Von der Heyden, S. 2014. The Influence of pleistocene climatic changes and ocean currents on the phylogeography of the Southern African Barnacle, Tetraclita serrata (Thoracica; Cirripedia). PLoS ONE, 9(7): e102115, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102115.


Abstract The evolutionary effects of glacial periods are poorly understood for Southern Hemisphere marine intertidal species, particularly obligatory sessile organisms. We examined this by assessing the phylogeographic patterns of the southern African volcano barnacle, Tetraclita serrata, a dominant species on rocky intertidal shores. Restricted gene flow in some geographical areas was hypothesized based on oceanic circulation patterns and known biogeographic regions. Barnacle population genetic structure was investigated using the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) region for 410 individuals sampled from 20 localities spanning the South African coast. The mtDNA data were augmented by generating nuclear internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) sequences from a subset of samples. Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA data reveal two distinct clades with mostly sympatric distributions, whereas nuclear analyses reveal only a single lineage. Shallow, but significant structure (0.0041–0.0065, P,0.01) was detected for the mtDNA data set, with the south-west African region identified as harbouring the highest levels of genetic diversity. Gene flow analyses on the mtDNA data show that individuals sampled in south-western localities experience gene flow primarily in the direction of the Benguela Current, while south and eastern localities experience bi-directional gene flow, suggesting an influence of both the inshore currents and the offshore Agulhas Current in the larval distribution of T. serrata. The mtDNA haplotype network, Bayesian Skyline Plots, mismatch distributions and time since expansion indicate that T. serrata population numbers were not severely affected by the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), unlike other southern African marine species. The processes resulting in the two morphologically cryptic mtDNA lineages may be the result of a recent historical allopatric event followed by secondary contact or could reflect selective pressures due to differing environmental conditions.

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