Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 697–711 | Cite as

Implications of life history for genetic structure and migration rates of southern African coastal invertebrates: planktonic, abbreviated and direct development

  • P. R. TeskeEmail author
  • I. Papadopoulos
  • G. I. Zardi
  • C. D. McQuaid
  • M. T. Edkins
  • C. L. Griffiths
  • N. P. Barker
Research Article


The amount of genetic structure in marine invertebrates is often thought to be negatively correlated with larval duration. However, larval retention may increase genetic structure in species with long-lived planktonic larvae, and rafting provides a means of dispersal for species that lack a larval dispersal phase. We compared genetic structure, demographic histories and levels of gene flow of regional lineages (in most cases defined by biogeographic region) of five southern African coastal invertebrates with three main types of larval development: (1) dispersal by long-lived planktonic larvae (mudprawn Upogebia africana and brown mussel Perna perna), (2) abbreviated larval development (crown crab Hymenosoma orbiculare) and (3) direct development (estuarine isopod Exosphaeroma hylecoetes and estuarine cumacean Iphinoe truncata). We hypothesized that H. orbiculare, having abbreviated larval development, would employ a strategy of larval retention, resulting in genetic structure comparable to that of the direct developers rather than the planktonic dispersers. However, regional population structure was significantly lower in all species with planktonic larvae, including H. orbiculare, than in the direct developers. Moreover, nested clade analysis identified demographic histories resulting from low levels of gene flow (isolation by distance and allopatric fragmentation) in the direct developers only, and migration rates were significantly higher in all three species having planktonic larvae than in the direct developers. We conclude that the amount of genetic structure within marine biogeographic regions strongly depends on the presence or absence of free-swimming larvae. Whether such larvae are primarily exported or retained, whether they have long or short larval duration, and whether or not they are capable of active dispersal seems to have little effect on connectivity among populations.


Perna Regional Lineage Larval Duration Planktonic Larva Zoeal Stage 
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.



This is a contribution from the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme/Agulhas & Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project. We thank our field assistants Ingo Jastram, Georgia Schäfer and Zeen Weight. Three anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged for useful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This study was supported by a postdoctoral research fellowship from the Claude Harris Leon Foundation awarded to PRT, the National Research Foundation (GUN 2069119), and Rhodes University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. Teske
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. Papadopoulos
    • 2
    • 3
  • G. I. Zardi
    • 1
  • C. D. McQuaid
    • 1
  • M. T. Edkins
    • 4
  • C. L. Griffiths
    • 4
  • N. P. Barker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Molecular Ecology and Systematics Group, Botany DepartmentRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Zoology DepartmentNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  4. 4.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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