Gene flow and isolation among populations of marine animals

Michael E. Hellberg, Louisiana State University


Successful dispersal between populations leaves a genetic wake that can reveal historical and contemporary patterns of connectivity. Genetic studies of differentiation in the sea suggest the role of larval dispersal is often tempered by adult ecology, that changes in differentiation with geographic distance are limited by disequilibrium between drift and migration, and that phylogeographic breaks reflect shared barriers to movement in the present more than common historical divisions. Recurring complications include the presence of cryptic species, selection on markers, and a failure to account for differences in heterozygosity among markers and species. A better understanding of effective population sizes is needed. Studies that er parentage or kinship and coalescent analyses employing more markers are both likely to spur progress, with analyses based on linkage disequilibrium potentially bridging results from these studies and reconciling patterns that vary at ecological and evolutionary timescales. Copyright © 2009 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.