Population genetic structure of the abyssal grenadier (Coryphaenoides armatus) around the mid-Atlantic ridge

Heather Ritchie, N. J. Cousins, S. J. Cregeen, S. B. Piertney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the factors that affect the levels and distribution of genetic diversity in oceanic and deep sea environments is a central focus in marine population genetics. Whilst it has been considered that the oceans represent a homogenous environment that would facilitate dispersal and minimise population structure, it is now clear that topographical features and current patterns can influence the extent of spatial gene flow and promote significant population genetic divergence even at local scales. Here we examine patterns of population genetic structure among N. Atlantic populations of the cosmopolitan abyssal grenadier Coryphaenoides armatus in relation to two hypothesized barriers to gene flow – the mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone/Sub Polar Front. A suite of microsatellite markers were developed to examine the spatial pattern of allelic variation among 210 individuals from ten sampling locations encompassing sites east and west of the MAR and north and south of the CGFZ, plus a geographically distinct sample of individuals from the Crozet Islands in the Indian Ocean. Considerable genetic diversity was detected among individuals (na=5−13 and Ho=0.46−0.69 across populations) but with an overall lack of genetic divergence between populations. Pairwise estimates of divergence among NE Atlantic samples were small and non-significant (max FST=0.04) and Structure-based Bayesian analysis of genetic clusters returned no distinct population structure. The only indication of genetic structure was between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, with FST estimates of ca 0.05. Patterns of genetic diversity and divergence are discussed in relation to what has been resolved in Coryphaenoides congeners, and what is known about the life history and ecology of C. armatus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue numberB
Early online date4 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2013


  • cotyphaenoides armatus
  • population differentiation
  • microsatellite
  • gene flow
  • Mid-Atlantic Ridge
  • abyssal grenadier
  • deep-sea fish
  • early-life-history
  • microsatellite data
  • Northeast Atlantic
  • flow
  • software
  • ocean
  • patterns
  • program
  • differentiation


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