Temim Deli, Mohamed Hbib Ben Attia, Rym Zitari-Chatti, Khaled Said, Noureddine Chatti. Genetic and morphological divergence in the purple sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata, Echinoidea) across the African Mediterranean coast[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2017, 36(12): 52-66. doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1090-3
Citation: Temim Deli, Mohamed Hbib Ben Attia, Rym Zitari-Chatti, Khaled Said, Noureddine Chatti. Genetic and morphological divergence in the purple sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata, Echinoidea) across the African Mediterranean coast[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2017, 36(12): 52-66. doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1090-3

Genetic and morphological divergence in the purple sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata, Echinoidea) across the African Mediterranean coast

doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1090-3
  • Received Date: 2016-09-02
  • The present investigation focuses on population structure analysis of the purple sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus across the African Mediterranean coast, with the main aim of assessing the influence of the Siculo-Tunisian Strait on gene flow disruption in this highly dispersive echinoid species. For this purpose, patterns of morphological and genetic variation were assessed among its populations from the western and eastern Mediterranean coasts. A total of 302 specimens from seven Tunisian sites were collected and examined for morphometric variability at twelve morphometric traits. Concordant results, inferred from CDA (canonical discriminant analyses), pairwise NPMANOVA (non parametric multivariate analysis of variance) comparisons and MDS (multidimensional scaling) plot, unveiled significant inter-population differences in the measured traits among the studied populations. Furthermore, the combined use of the one way ANOSIM (analysis of similarities) and the Discriminant/Hotelling analysis allowed unravelling two morphologically differentiated groups assigned to both western and eastern Mediterranean basins. The SIMPER (similarity percentages) routine analysis showed that total dry weight, test diameter and spine length were major contributors to the morphometric separation between locations and between groups. Pattern of phenotypic divergence discerned in P. lividus across the Siculo-Tunisian Strait is interestingly in congruence with that inferred from the genetic investigation of the purple sea urchin populations from the same region based on the analysis of the mtDNA COI (cytochrome oxidase I) gene in 314 specimens from nineteen locations covering a wider geographic transect, streching westward to the Algerian coast and eastward to the Libyan littoral. The specific haplotypic composition characterizing each Mediterranean basin, as inferred from the minimum spanning network, confirmed the geographic partioning of genetic variation, as revealed by F-statistics and AMOVA (analysis of molecular variance) analyses, yielding significant genetic differentiation between eastern and western Mediterranean populations. The newly detected phylogeographic patterns, observed for the first time in P. lividus throughout the explored distribution range, suggest the involvement of different biotic and abiotic processes in shaping such variation, and provide evidence that a large and geographically exhaustive dataset is necessary to unveil phylogeographic structure within widespread marine species, previously cathegorized as panmictic in part of their distribution range.
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