Usin seven allozyme loci as gene markers, we studied the genetic structure of ten natural populations of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus intermedius in the northwestern Sea of Japan that differ in the proportion of individuals with different spawning seasonality (early spawning at the end of May–June and late spawning in September-early October). This study revealed the spatial genetic heterogeneity of the sea-urchin populations (F st = 0.051); its degree was independent of the geographic distance between populations. Out of the seven loci that were surveyed, four loci (peptidase Pep-1, Pep-2, mannose phosphate isomerase Mpi, and inorganic pyrophosphatase Ipp) accounted for the differences between pairs of samples; different loci contributed to the variation in each sample pair. The genetic similarity between pairs of populations ranged from 0.905 to 0.988. The genetic heterogeneity of the sea-urchin populations seems to be a result of both genetic drift and natural selection. At the same time, no significant genetic differences were found between specimens of S. intermedius with different spawning times (the genetic similarity was 0.988–0.991). The shift in spawning season from autumn to early summer in the populations of S. intermedius inhabiting the areas of Peter the Great Bay adjacent to Vladivostok city can be explained by a phenotypic response of this species to environmental changes caused by chronic anthropogenic pollution of the bay.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 25, 2012
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