Genetic population structure of two intertidal nudibranch molluscs with contrasting larval types: temporal variation and transplant experiments

WJ Lambert, Christopher David Todd, JP Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies of the genetic structure of populations of two intertidal nudibranchs, Goniodoris nodosa (Montagu) and Adalaria proxima (Alder and Hancock), using polymorphic allozymes revealed an expected congruence between the larval strategies of the two species and spatial differences in allele frequencies. In the northern British Isles, allele frequencies for the planktotrophic species, G. nodosa, lacked significant spatial heterogeneity over distances of > 1000 km, while there was significant spatial heterogeneity in allele frequencies over distances of as little as 100 in between populations of the lecithotrophic species, A. proxima. To further understand the mechanisms causing these differences in population structure, allele frequencies were monitored in populations of both species over up to ten annual generations from 1985-1995 (for as many as seven consecutive generations in some cases). The temporal studies corroborated the spatial studies, showing that the population structure for these species is closely related to their realized larval dispersal. Between 1992 and 1995 the scale of larval dispersal and recruitment of A. proxima was examined in the field in three one-way transplant experiments between pairs of populations that were genetically and/or phenotypically different. Two of the three transplant experiments resulted in significant changes either in allozyme allele frequencies at multiple loci, or in the frequency of a color morph between two consecutive generations. This suggests that small, local populations are not totally open demographically and receive at least a proportion of their recruits from larvae generated within that population. The influence of local extinction and chance recolonization by larvae dispersed from more distant populations is therefore likely to be great, and these stochastic processes may affect the evolution of characters such as the previously observed egg size variation among populations of A. proxima.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • FLOW


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic population structure of two intertidal nudibranch molluscs with contrasting larval types: temporal variation and transplant experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this