This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Cite this article
Islam MR, Schmidt DJ, Crook DA, Hughes JM.2017. Patterns of genetic structuring at the northern limits of the Australian smelt (Retropinna semoni) cryptic species complex. PeerJ Preprints5:e3284v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.3284v1
Freshwater fishes often exhibit high genetic population structure due to the prevalence of dispersal barriers (e.g., waterfalls) whereas population structure in diadromous fishes tends to be weaker and driven by natal homing behaviour and/or isolation by distance. The Australian smelt (Retropinninae: Retropinna semoni) is a facultatively diadromous fish with a broad distribution spanning inland and coastal drainages of south-eastern Australia. Previous studies have demonstrated variability in population genetic structure and movement behaviour (potamodromy, facultative diadromy, estuarine residence) across the southern part of its geographic range. Some of this variability may be explained by the existence of multiple cryptic species. Here, we examined genetic structure of populations at the northern extent of the species’ distribution, using ten microsatellite loci and sequences of the mitochondrial cyt b gene. We tested the hypothesis that connectivity among rivers should be low due to a lack of dispersal via the marine environment, but high within rivers due to potamodromous behaviour. We investigated populations corresponding with two putative cryptic species, the South East Queensland (SEQ), and Central East Queensland (CEQ) lineages. In agreement with our hypothesis, highly significant overall FST values suggested that both groups exhibit very low dispersal among rivers (SEQ FST = 0.13; CEQ FST = 0.30). The two putative cryptic species, formed monophyletic clades in the mtDNA gene tree and among river phylogeographic structure was also evident within clades. Microsatellite data indicated that connectivity among sites within rivers was also limited, suggesting potamodromous behaviour does not homogenise populations at the within-river scale. Overall, northern groups in the smelt cryptic species exhibit higher among-river population structure and smaller geographic ranges than southern groups. These properties make northern Australian smelt populations potentially susceptible to future conservation threats, and we define eight genetically distinct management units to guide future conservation management.
This is a submission to PeerJ for review.
Microsatellite raw data describing pupulation in the first column and locus name in the first row