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Publication Type J
Authors Procaccini, G., S. Acunto, P. Fama and F. Maltagliati
Title Structural, morphological and genetic variability in Halophila stipulacea (Hydrocharitaceae) populations in the western Mediterranean
Source Marine Biology
Author Keywords seagrass posidonia-oceanica zostera-marina cymodocea-nodosa growth diversity meadows
Abstract Halophila stipulacea (Forssk.) Ascher. is a dioecious seagrass that colonized the Mediterranean basin probably following the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). Natural meadows have been reported since the end of the last century on the eastern side of the basin and only recently along the northern coast of Sicily. In the present study we examined the morphological and genetic variability of two natural meadows located along the Sicilian coast (Vulcano Island and Oliveri-Tindari coastal lakes). In order to determine morphological and genetic polymorphism, samples were collected at different depths (5, 15 and 25 m depth at the Vulcano site) and positions ledge vs mid-bed) within the meadows. Statistically significant differences in phenotypic features were found between the factors "depth" and "position" within the same meadow and between the two localities. Genetic diversity was assessed using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA and found to be high. Deep and shallow stands of the Vulcano Island meadow clustered in different positions in the UPGMA tree. The shallow Vulcano stand was found to be closer to the shallow Oliveri-Tindari meadow than to the deeper stand from Vulcano. Mantel's test did not allow rejection of the null hypothesis of independence of morphological and molecular distance matrices. We conclude that (i) H. stipulacea shows high morphological and genetic polymorphism, (ii) environmental and/or ecological barriers exist between different depths, and (iii) trends of morphological and genetic variability may be influenced by different environmental and/or ecological factors.
Author Address Stn Zool A Dohrn, Lab Ecol Benthos, Punta S Pietro, I-80077 Naples, Italy. Univ Pisa, Dipartimento Sci Uomo & Ambiente, I-56126 Pisa, Italy. Univ Sassari, Dipartimento Zool & Antropol Biol, I-07100 Sassari, Italy. Procaccini, G, Stn Zool A Dohrn, Lab Ecol Benthos, Punta S Pietro, I-80077 Naples, Italy.
Publication Date Oct
Year Published 1999
Volume 135
Issue 1
Beginning Page 181-189
Unique Article Identifier ISI:000083306400021
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