Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1289–1300 | Cite as

Historical demography and contemporary spatial genetic structure of an estuarine crab in the northeast Pacific (Hemigrapsus oregonensis)

  • Christine H. Petersen
Research Article


Discrete estuary subpopulations of the mud crab Hemigrapsus oregonensis (Dana, 1851) are connected via larval dispersal. Sequence variation at the mtDNA COI locus was examined in eight populations sampled in 2001–2002 from central California through northern Oregon in the northeast Pacific (36.6–45.8°N) to infer patterns of dispersal and historical connectivity in the region. Strong evidence for persistence since the mid-Pleistocene, with no range truncation resulting from southward shifting temperature isoclines, was provided by a phylogeographic pattern of haplotypes of an older clade distributed throughout the sampled range. A recently derived clade became widespread only north of Cape Blanco after the last glacial maximum. Its clear pattern of restriction to the northern area, in the absence of similarly restricted southern clades, suggests that contemporary dispersal around Cape Blanco is rare (population FST = 0.192). Low pairwise differentiation within Oregon and within central California, as well as contrasts between northern and southern groups in the shape of the pairwise mismatch distribution, nucleotide diversity, and Tajima’s D suggest that these regions reflect different demographic histories. Potential mechanisms explaining this latitudinal break include contemporary coastal circulation patterns, selection, and ancient patterns of larval dispersal in the California Current.


Southern Population Mismatch Distribution Larval Dispersal California Current California Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Mike Hickerson and John Wares for helpful comments. I also thank advisors George Roderick, Cherie Briggs, and Zack Powell for their advice and support, Scott Jackson for help with figures, and James Carlton and Sylvia Yamada, for their suggestions and knowledge of regional patterns in Oregon. Support for this project was provided by a grant from the UCB Department of Integrative Biology Summer research fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyUC BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.National Marine Fisheries ServiceSanta CruzUSA

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