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Genetic Population Structure in Blue Crabs (Callinectes sapidus): High Resolution Population Genomics of a High Gene Flow Species
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  • Joseph Neigel,
  • Sophie Plouviez,
  • Timothy Sullivan,
  • Bree Yednock,
  • Vanessa Rashbrook
Joseph Neigel
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
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Sophie Plouviez
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
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Timothy Sullivan
Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute
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Bree Yednock
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
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Vanessa Rashbrook
University of California Davis
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Abstract

Widespread dispersal of progeny is expected to result in enough gene flow to maintain genetic homogeneity over large areas. Surveys of genetic markers in species with planktonic larvae have mostly confirmed this expectation. However, genetic structure has occasionally been found at small spatiotemporal scales and interpreted as evidence of restricted dispersal, natal homing, sweepstakes reproductive success, or natural selection. We investigated genetic population structure in blue crabs from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of North America. Sampling was most intensive from five estuaries along the coast of Louisiana, with megalopae, juveniles and adults sampled from 2010 to 2016. 1446 individuals were genotyped at 2486 SNPs in 1363 putative protein-coding loci. Levels of differentiation between locations were consistently low, but significant differentiation was found among locations and among years. No evidence was found for chaotic genetic patchiness or sweepstakes reproductive success: no genetic differentiation was detected among collections of megalopae and none of the sampled individuals were closely related. Our results indicate that gene flow in blue crabs maintains near genetic homogeneity from the northern Gulf of Mexico through the Atlantic coast of North America.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

26 Mar 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology
27 Mar 2020Assigned to Editor
27 Mar 2020Submission Checks Completed
21 Apr 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Apr 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending