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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Panmixia in Zoarces viviparus: implications for environmental monitoring studies

Bergek, S.; Franzen, F.; Quack, M.; Hochkirch, A.; Kinitz, T.; Prestegaard, T.; Appelberg, M.


In this study, the genetic population structure of the eelpout Zoarces viviparus was investigated by using microsatellites. Samples were collected at 10 sites in the Baltic Sea, covering a distance of c. 90 km. Ten newly developed microsatellite loci were used to infer the population structure. No global spatial genetic differentiation was found (global F-ST = 0.0001; D-est = -0.0003), indicating strong gene flow at this scale, nor any clear pattern of isolation by distance. The results suggest that gene flow among the studied populations of Z. viviparus is stronger than usually thought, which might be caused by environmental homogeneity. This is important for planning and evaluating monitoring activities in this species and for the interpretation of ecotoxicological studies. Strong migration might lead to wrong conclusions concerning the pollution in a given area. Therefore, reference stations should be placed at a larger distance than presently practiced.


Baltic Sea; bioindicator; eelpout; gene flow; microsatellites; population genetics

Published in

Journal of Fish Biology
2012, Volume: 80, number: 6, pages: 2302-2316