Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanologie
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Publication MIO : Almudena Cánovas-Molina, Monica Montefalcone, Giorgio Bavestrello, Mauatassem Billah Masmoudi, Anne Haguenauer, Pachka Hammami, Lamya Chaoui, Mohammed Hichem Kara, DidierAurelle (MIO) - From depth to regional spatial genetic differentiation of Eunicella cavolini in the NW Mediterranean

Version imprimable de cet article

Comptes Rendus Biologies
Available online 11 October 2018
In Press, Corrected Proof


Connectivity studies in the marine realm are of great importance to understand the evolutionary potential of populations in a context of growing pressures on the marine environment. Here, we investigated the effect of the local, regional, and depth spatial scale on the population genetic structure of the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolini, one of the most common octocoral species of the Mediterranean hard-bottom communities. This species, along with other sessile metazoans typical of coralligenous ecosystems, plays an important role in supporting biodiversity, but is also impacted by direct and indirect consequences of human activities, such as physical destruction or mortality events due to thermal anomalies. Samples were taken from 15 sites located in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean) in two adjacent regions 100 kilometres apart, i.e. from the areas of Marseille (France) and Portofino (Genoa, Italy), and were analysed using six microsatellite loci. A pattern of isolation by distance was observed at the regional as well as the local scales. Although E. cavolini showed less genetic structure than other Mediterranean octocorallian species, we observed a significant genetic differentiation between populations a few kilometres apart. A low genetic differentiation was also observed between shallow and deep populations. The occurrence of genetically differentiated populations of E. cavolini at the scale of kilometres has important consequences for the management of this species and of the associated communities.

Keywords :
Eunicella cavolini
Spatial scale
Genetic structure

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