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Journal Articles Heredity Year : 2022

Population genetics reveals divergent lineages and ongoing hybridization in a declining migratory fish species complex

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Abstract

Deciphering the effects of historical and recent demographic processes responsible for the spatial patterns of genetic diversity and structure is a key objective in evolutionary and conservation biology. Using population genetic analyses, we investigated the demographic history, the contemporary genetic diversity and structure, and the occurrence of hybridization and introgression of two species of anadromous fish with contrasting life history strategies and which have undergone recent demographic declines, the allis shad (Alosa alosa) and the twaite shad (Alosa fallax). We genotyped 706 individuals from 20 rivers and 5 sites at sea in Southern Europe at thirteen microsatellite markers. Genetic structure between populations was lower for the nearly semelparous species A. alosa, which disperses greater distances compared to the iteroparous species, A. fallax. Individuals caught at sea were assigned at the river level for A. fallax and at the region level for A. alosa. Using an approximate Bayesian computation framework, we inferred that the most likely long term historical divergence scenario between both species and lineages involved historical separation followed by secondary contact accompanied by strong population size decline. Accordingly, we found evidence for contemporary hybridization and bidirectional introgression due to gene flow between both species and lineages. Moreover, our results support the existence of at least one distinct species in the Mediterrannean sea: A. agone in Golfe du Lion area, and another divergent lineage in Corsica. Overall, our results shed light on the interplay between historical and recent demographic processes and life history strategies in shaping population genetic diversity and structure of closely related species. The recent demographic decline of these species' populations and their hybridization should be carefully considered while implementing conservation programs.

Dates and versions

hal-03831324 , version 1 (26-10-2022)

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Cite

Quentin Rougemont, Charles Perrier, Anne-Laure Besnard, Isabelle Lebel, Yann Abdallah, et al.. Population genetics reveals divergent lineages and ongoing hybridization in a declining migratory fish species complex. Heredity, 2022, 129 (2), pp.137-151. ⟨10.1038/s41437-022-00547-9⟩. ⟨hal-03831324⟩
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