Population genetic variation of the Southern Ocean krill, Euphausia superba, in the Western Antarctic Peninsula region based on mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)


P.G. Batta Lona1, A.Bucklin1, P.H. Wiebe2, N.J. Copley2, and T. Patarnello3


1Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, USA;

2Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA;

3Department of Public Health, Comparatitve Pathology, and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padova, Padova, Italy



The Southen Ocean krill Euphausia superba is one of the best-studied marine zooplankton species in terms of population genetic diversity and structure; with few exceptions, previous studies have shown the species to be genetically homogeneous at larger spatial scales. The goal of this study is to examine sub-regional scale population genetic diversity and structure of Euphausia superba using molecular characters selected with this goal in mind and to thereby examine hypotheses of the source(s) of recruitment for krill populations of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Collections were made throughout the WAP region made during US GLOBEC cruises in austral fall, 2001 and 2002. A total of 585 E. superba (including all 6 furcilia larval stages, juveniles, and adults) was analyzed after confirmation of species indentification using a competitive multiplexed species-specific PCR (SS-PCR) reaction based on mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) sequences. The molecular markers used were allele frequencies at single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) sites in the gene encoding mitochondrial cytochrome B (CytB). Four SNP sites that showed desirable patterns of allelic variation were selected; alleles were detected using a multiplexed single-base extension PCR protocol. A total of 22 SNP haplotypes (i.e., strings of polymorphisms at the four SNP sites) was observed; haplotype diversity (Hd) = 0.811 (s.d. = 0.008). Analysis of molecular variation within and among samples, areas (i.e., Marguerite Bay, Crystal Sound, shelf, offshore), and collection years revealed no difference between 2001 and 2002 collections overall, although differences between 2001 and 2002 collections from Marguerite Bay explained 7.4% of the variance (Fsc = 0.072; P = 0.002 + 0.001). Most of the variation (96.3%) occurred within samples each year, with no differentiation among areas. There was small, but significant differentiation among samples within areas in 2001 (4.6%; Fsc = 0.045; P = 0.015 ± 0.003) and 2002 (6.3%; Fsc = 0.062; P = 0.000 ± 0.000). There was evidence of life stage-specific spatial differentiation for furcilia in 2002 for F1 (18.1%, p = 0.00 ± 0.000) and F2 (9.2%, p = 0.001 ± 0.001). The significant differentiation among samples for E. superba within areas was interpreted as evidence of multiple sources of recruitment of E. superba in the WAP region, consistent with advective transport and production of both offshore and shelf habitats. Further population genetic analysis at sub-regional scales is needed to understand and eventually predict population dynamic processes (e.g., recruitment, migration, retention, and over-wintering) of the Southern Ocean krill.





11/08/10: Revision accepted; editor letter sent to corresponding author.