The Contribution of Clonality to Population Genetic Structure in the Sea Anemone, Diadumene lineata

Academic Article


  • Ecological and evolutionary processes differ depending on how genetic diversity is organized in space. For clonal organisms, the organization of both genetic and genotypic diversity can influence the fitness effects of competition, the mating system, and reproductive mode, which are key drivers of life cycle evolution. Understanding how individual reproductive behavior contributes to population genetic structure is essential for disentangling these forces, particularly in species with complex and plastic life cycles. The widespread sea anemone, Diadumene lineata, exhibits temperature-dependent fission, which contributes to predictable variation in clonal rate along the Atlantic coast of the United States, part of its non-native range. Because warmer conditions lead to higher rates of clonality, we expected to find lower genotypic and genetic diversity in lower versus higher latitude populations. We developed primers for 11 microsatellite loci and genotyped 207 anemones collected from 8 sites ranging from Florida to Massachusetts. We found clonal influence at all sites, and as predicted, the largest clones were found at lower latitude sites. We also found genetic signatures of sex in the parts of the range where gametogenesis is most common. Evidence of sex outside the native range is novel for this species and provides insights into the dynamics of this successful invader. Our findings also illustrate challenges that partially clonal taxa pose for eco-evolutionary studies, such as difficulty sampling statistically robust numbers of genets and interpretating common population genetic metrics. For example, we found high among-locus variation in FIS, which makes the meaning of mean multilocus FIS unclear.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ryan WH; Aida J; Krueger-Hadfield SA
  • Start Page

  • 122
  • End Page

  • 139
  • Volume

  • 112
  • Issue

  • 1