Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 263–275 | Cite as

Relative importance of ocean currents and fronts in population structures of marine fish: a lesson from the cryptic lineages of the Hippocampus mohnikei complex

  • Sang-Yun Han
  • Jin-Koo KimEmail author
  • Fumihito Tashiro
  • Yoshiaki Kai
  • Joon-Taek Yoo
Original Paper


We found that Hippocampus mohnikei, the most common seahorse in East Asia, includes three clades with 2.8%–7.3% pairwise differences in their DNA cytochrome b (mtDNA cyt b) sequences, and all the clades are detected in the eastern Korea Strait (only in Geoje), Korea. Clades A and B have different demographic and divergence features via NJ-tree, TCS, mismatch, and BSP analysis from mtDNA cyt b, and the hybridization among the three clades was detected in nuclear DNA (the 1st intron RP1 of ribosomal protein S7 gene, ncDNA S7), implying a possibility of historic secondary contact or ancestral polymorphism. We also found the 1.4%-divergence-per-million-years molecular clock in mtDNA cyt b is appropriate for H. mohnikei through mismatch and BSP analysis comparison. Disconnection of each clade among the Yellow Sea, Korea Strait, and Japanese waters are related to different water masses, therefore there may exist an incomplete biogeographic barriers among them via discordant results between mtDNA and ncDNA. Therefore, a new analysis (such as microsatellite DNA or RAD-seq) must be considered to determine whether H. mohnikei constitutes a widely distributed panmictic population or several reproductively isolated populations.


Cryptic diversity Seahorse Hybridization Demographic expansion Divergence Mitochondrial DNA Nuclear DNA 



This research was supported by a grant from the Marine Fish Resources Bank of Korea (MFRBK) and by a grant from the National Institute of Fisheries Science, Korea (NIFS, R2017032). We would like to deeply thank M. S. Choi (Southwest Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Korea), J. H. Park (NIFS, Korea), W. G. Park and J. Y. Bae (Zooplanktology lab. of Pukyong National University, Korea), S. Rho, G. E. Noh, and S. O. Shin (Haecheonma, Korea), K. S. Han (Dongwon Institute of Science and Technology, Korea), H. Sugawara, H. D. Mun, G. H. Mun, Y. G. Park, M. S. Kim, and J. H. Lee for help in our sampling.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sang-Yun Han
    • 1
  • Jin-Koo Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fumihito Tashiro
    • 2
  • Yoshiaki Kai
    • 2
  • Joon-Taek Yoo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine BiologyPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Maizuru Fisheries Research Station, Field Science Education and Research CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Fisheries Resources and Environment Division, South Sea Fisheries Research InstituteNational Institute of Fisheries ScienceYeosuSouth Korea

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