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Publication Date




Publication Title

Scientific Reports




17856 (16 pages)


The Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarctica) is a critically important forage species with a circumpolar distribution and is unique among other notothenioid species for its wholly pelagic life cycle. Previous studies have provided mixed evidence of population structure over regional and circumpolar scales. The aim of the present study was to test the recent population hypothesis for Antarctic silverfish, which emphasizes the interplay between life history and hydrography in shaping connectivity. A total of 1067 individuals were collected over 25 years from different locations on a circumpolar scale. Samples were genotyped at fifteen microsatellites to assess population differentiation and genetic structuring using clustering methods, F-statistics, and hierarchical analysis of variance. A lack of differentiation was found between locations connected by the Antarctic Slope Front Current (ASF), indicative of high levels of gene flow. However, gene flow was significantly reduced at the South Orkney Islands and the western Antarctic Peninsula where the ASF is absent. This pattern of gene flow emphasized the relevance of large-scale circulation as a mechanism for circumpolar connectivity. Chaotic genetic patchiness characterized population structure over time, with varying patterns of differentiation observed between years, accompanied by heterogeneous standard length distributions. The present study supports a more nuanced version of the genetic panmixia hypothesis that reflects physical-biological interactions over the life history.


© The Author(s) 2018

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Data Availability

Article states: "The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on request."

Corresponding author: Jilda Alicia Caccavo (ORCiD: 0000-0002-8172-7855).

Original Publication Citation

Caccavo, J. A., Papetti, C., Wetjen, M., Knust, R., Ashford, J. R., & Zane, L. (2018). Along-shelf connectivity and circumpolar gene flow in Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarctica). Scientific Reports, 8, 17856. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-36030-x


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