Hogg, I. D., de Lafontaine, Y., & Eadie, J. M. (2000). Genotypic variation among Gammarus fasciatus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) from the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River: implications for the conservation of widespread freshwater invertebrates. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 57(9), 1843-1852.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8190
We examined the population genetic structure of the amphipod Gammarus fasciatus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) over two years from a total of 11 sites within the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River system using allozyme electrophoresis. In 1995, we examined differences within the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall to Quebec City), and in 1996, we focused on larger scale, whole-system differences from Lake Superior to Lake Champlain. We found very low levels of genetic differentiation among sites (Wright's FST < 0.03). This was not unexpected for an active disperser in a relatively contiguous system. However, we also found low levels of genetic variability within sites (Hobs = 0.07- 0.15), a result that was not anticipated. We surveyed the available literature on gammarid and other amphipods and found that limited genetic variability is characteristic of continuously distributed taxa, contrary to the expectations of current conservation theory. This is potentially of concern, especially in light of recently reported declines of G. fasciatus at several locations within the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Given the importance of species such as G. fasciatus in aquatic food webs, further work is clearly needed on the consequences of population genetic structure to species' responses to novel environmental changes (e.g., exotic species introductions).