Genetic characteristics of populations can have substantial impacts on the adaptive potential of a species. Species are heterogeneous, often defined by variability at a range of scales including at the genetic, individual and population level. Using microsatellite genotyping, we characterize patterns underlying the genetic heterogeneity in marine macroalga Fucus vesiculosus, with a particular focus on two forms: attached and free-living. Here we demonstrate that sympatric populations representing the two forms display marked differences in characteristics of reproduction and genetic diversity. Asexual reproduction was ubiquitous in the free-living form despite being almost entirely absent in the attached form, while signals of polyploidy were common in both forms despite the distinct reproductive modes. Gene flow within and between the forms differed, with barriers to gene flow occurring between forms at various spatial scales due to the reproductive modes employed by individuals of each form. The divergent genetic characteristics of F. vesiculosus demonstrate that intraspecific differences can influence the properties of populations with consequential effects on the whole ecosystem. The differing genetic patterns and habitat requirements of the two forms define separate but closely associated ecological entities that will likely display divergent responses to future changes in environmental conditions.
TidskriftEcology and Evolution
Antal sidor16
StatusPublicerad - 20 sep. 2022
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 1181 Ekologi, evolutionsbiologi

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