Genetic population structure of the Waved Whelk (Buccinum undatum) in the western North Atlantic

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University of New Brunswick


Delineating patterns of spatial genetic structure provides insight into the scale of connectivity and can inform effective management. Here, I characterized spatial genetic structure within the western North Atlantic lineage of the waved whelk (Buccinum undatum), a marine gastropod with limited dispersal capabilities. I genotyped 198 individuals from 9 sampling sites throughout Atlantic Canada using 1,052 single nucleotide polymorphisms obtained from double digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing. B. undatum exhibits strong hierarchical genetic structuring throughout this region. There are two major clusters dividing eastern and western sites along with clear genetic substructure within each cluster. At the site level, pairwise genetic differentiation is strong, revealing limited connectivity. The exceptions are sites located on deep shelf habitat, suggesting relatively high gene flow in this environment. This study provides valuable information about the genetic structure of a direct-developing marine invertebrate and has implications for managing the B. undatum fishery across Atlantic Canada.