Evol Ecol Res 4: 1049-1064 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Genetic divergence among Mexican populations of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle): geographic and historic effects

Juan Núñez-Farfán,* César A. Domínguez, Luis E. Eguiarte, Amelia Cornejo, Martin Quijano, Jesús Vargas and Rodolfo Dirzo

Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, A.P. 70-275, Mexico Distrito Federal, C.P. 04510, Mexico

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: farfan@servidor.unam.mx


The Panamanian Isthmus uplifted about 3.5 million years ago, isolating plant and animal populations distributed in what today are the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, is one of those species in which gene flow was interrupted by this geological phenomenon. Here, we measure the extent of genetic divergence among Mexican populations of R. mangle, both between and within coasts, and explore the evolutionary processes responsible for their genetic structure. Fourteen populations of R. mangle were sampled and individuals were screened for multi-locus genotypes using isozymes. We detected a marked genetic differentiation among populations (Fst = 0.287) and high inbreeding (Fis = 0.428) in R. mangle. Inferred gene flow among populations of the Atlantic coast (Nm = 0.738) was lower than that observed among the Pacific populations (Nm = 3.174). As indicated by the low values of gene flow (Nm = 0.433), and by the presence of alleles restricted to Pacific populations, the two coasts are isolated from each other. Gene flow does not follow the expectation of the model of isolation by distance, and reflects a complex pattern of migration among populations. The loss of one allele is documented for the northernmost population on the Pacific coast. Our results suggest that genetic drift may have played a major role in the population differentiation of red mangrove found in this study.

Keywords: genetic drift, isolation by distance, mangroves, Mexico, Panamanian Isthmus, population genetics, red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle.

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