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Title: Patterns of morphological and genetic variability in UK populations of the shore crab, Carcinus maenas Linnaeus, 1758 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura)
Authors: Brian, JV
Fernandes, T
Ladle, RJ
Todd, PA
Keywords: Endocrine disruption;Phenotypic plasticity;Green crab;Genetic variation;Morphology;Shore crab
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 329(1): 47-54, Feb 2006
Abstract: Previous research has identified extensive inter-population variability in the morphology of the shore crab (Carcinus maenas L.). To determine the source of this variation (genetic or environmental), morphological and genetic data were analysed from crabs collected from eight sites around the coast of the UK. Ten morphometric traits were measured from over 800 crabs and the degree of morphological similarity among sites was calculated using multivariate techniques. Allozyme electrophoresis was used to investigate patterns of genetic similarity. Extensive morphological variability was detected: eight out of the ten morphometric traits analysed were useful when discriminating between crabs from each site. Discriminant function analysis revealed that over 35% of individuals could be classified to their site of origin on the basis of their morphology. In contrast, the allozyme analysis revealed low levels of genetic variability, both within the meta-population and among the crab population at each site. Pairwise comparisons revealed a moderate correlation between the degree of morphological and genetic similarity of crabs at each site, which suggests that the observed phenotypic variability has a genetic component. However, only around 20% of the phenotypic variability detected was associated with the patterns of genetic similarity. This means that patterns of morphological variability in this species aye largely determined by the local environmental conditions: local factors could have a within-generation selective influence on mean trait values or C maenas may exhibit phenotypic plasticity.
Appears in Collections:Environment
Institute for the Environment

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