Dispersal similarly shapes both population genetics and community patterns in the marine realm

Guillem Chust, Ernesto Villarino, Anne Chenuil, Xabier Irigoien, Nihayet Bizsel, Antonio Bode, Cecilie Broms, Simon Claus, María L. Fernández de Puelles, Serena Fonda-Umani, Galice Hoarau, Maria G. Mazzocchi, Patricija Mozetič, Leen Vandepitte, Helena Veríssimo, Soultana Zervoudaki, Angel Borja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Dispersal plays a key role to connect populations and, if limited, is one of the main processes to maintain and generate regional biodiversity. According to neutral theories of molecular evolution and biodiversity, dispersal limitation of propagules and population stochasticity are integral to shaping both genetic and community structure. We conducted a parallel analysis of biological connectivity at genetic and community levels in marine groups with different dispersal traits. We compiled large data sets of population genetic structure (98 benthic macroinvertebrate and 35 planktonic species) and biogeographic data (2193 benthic macroinvertebrate and 734 planktonic species). We estimated dispersal distances from population genetic data (i.e., FST vs. geographic distance) and from β-diversity at the community level. Dispersal distances ranked the biological groups in the same order at both genetic and community levels, as predicted by organism dispersal ability and seascape connectivity: macrozoobenthic species without dispersing larvae, followed by macrozoobenthic species with dispersing larvae and plankton (phyto- and zooplankton). This ranking order is associated with constraints to the movement of macrozoobenthos within the seabed compared with the pelagic habitat. We showed that dispersal limitation similarly determines the connectivity degree of communities and populations, supporting the predictions of neutral theories in marine biodiversity patterns.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 27 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This manuscript is a result of the DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status) project, funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, ‘The Ocean of Tomorrow’ Theme (grant agreement no. 308392), www.devotes-project.eu, cofunded by the Basque Government. E. Villarino had a PhD scholarship (Iñaki Goenaga - Technology Centres Foundation). IEO provided data on zooplankton from the Bay of Biscay (project RADIALES) and Mallorca (Balearic time series). Thanks to the MACROBEN database. Thanks for the valuable comments and data provided to J.G. Rodríguez, I. Muxika, N. Rodríguez-Ezpeleta (AZTI), J. Carstensen (Aarhus University), and L. Zinger (CNRS). We acknowledge Carolyn Unck (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia) for improving the use of English in the manuscript. This is contribution 773 from AZTI Marine Research Division.


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