Spatial gradients of introgressed ancestry reveal cryptic connectivity patterns in a high gene flow marine fish

TitleSpatial gradients of introgressed ancestry reveal cryptic connectivity patterns in a high gene flow marine fish
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRobinet, T, Roussel, V, Cheze, K, Gagnaire, P‐A
JournalMolecular Ecology
Date PublishedMar-08-2022

Assessing genetic connectivity among populations in high gene flow species is sometimes insufficient to evaluate demographic connectivity. Genetic differentiation quickly becomes zero as soon as a few dozen migrants are exchanged per generation. This provides little information to determine whether migration can ensure demographic coupling. The resulting difficulties in delineating conservation units for the management of commercially exploited marine fish species are well illustrated in the case of the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). Previous attempts to assess connectivity patterns in the northeast Atlantic have been hampered by a lack of spatial genetic structure. In contrast, mark‐recapture data suggested low migration rates between regional spawning areas. Here, we show how a spatial gradient of introgressed Mediterranean ancestry across the northeast Atlantic reflects cryptic patterns of genetic and demographic connectivity. Using a 1K SNP chip data set in 827 individuals sampled from Portugal to the North Sea, we found null overall genetic differentiation across the northeast Atlantic. We however detected a subtle latitudinal admixture gradient originating at the edge of the contact zone with the Mediterranean sea bass lineage. Two significant breaks in the ancestry gradient at the tip of Galicia and northern Brittany indicated barriers to effective dispersal between demographically distinct units. Moreover, a northward expansion signal in Irish and North Seas was revealed by the surfing of rare Mediterranean alleles at the edge of the species range. Our results show that introgressed ancestry gradients offer a powerful alternative to assess genetic and demographic connectivity when the neutral migration‐drift balance is not informative.

Short TitleMol Ecol
Catégorie HCERES
ACL - Peer-reviewed articles
Publication coopération et recherche SUD