Small-scale genetic structure in the sea palm Postelsia palmaeformis Ruprecht (Phaeophyceae)

TitleSmall-scale genetic structure in the sea palm Postelsia palmaeformis Ruprecht (Phaeophyceae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsKusumo, H. T., Pfister C. A., & Wootton T. J.
JournalMarine Biology
Pagination731 - 742
Date Published7/2006

Documenting the scale of movement among populations is an important challenge for marine ecology. Using nine microsatellite markers, evidence of genetic structure in a marine kelp, the sea palm Postelsia palmaeformis Ruprecht, was examined in the vicinity of Cape Flattery, Washington state, USA (48 24¢ N, 124 W). Genetic clustering analysis implemented without reference to geographic structure strongly suggested that a number of distinct genetic clusters existed among the 245 plants sampled in August in the years 1997–2001. Subsequent analysis showed that clustering was associated with geographically defined populations both among (km scale) and within (m scale) sampling sites. Fst analysis of geographically defined populations revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations of plants as little as 5 m apart, evidence of genetic structuring at even smaller scales, and a sharp increase in Fst across populations separated by up to 23 m. Fst values were also high and approximately unchanging (Fst=0.470) for populations separated by greater distances (up to 11 km), consistent with a scenario of rare dispersal by detached, floating plants carried by variable currents. The results corroborate natural history observations suggesting that P. palmaeformis has extremely short (1–3 m) spore dispersal distances, and indicate that the dynamics of sea palm populations are more affected by local processes than recruitment from distant populations.

Short TitleMar Biol