Zostera marina population genetics in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, and implications for grass bed restoration

James Campanella, Paul Bologna, Stephanie M. Smith, Eric B. Rosenzweig, John V. Smalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Within Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, Zostera marina populations have declined by 62% over the last 20 years, and restoration efforts have met with mixed success. We have completed a microsatellite-based genetic investigation of eight populations of Z. marina within Barnegat Bay to determine whether the genetic stock origins of the plants used in management projects may affect restoration success. Additionally, we assessed the genetic diversity of Z. marina in Barnegat Bay to better understand its population structure. Clonal diversity ranged from 0.70 to 0.95 for the populations studied. Individually, Barnegat Bay populations are not genetically diverse, and there is also little divergence among populations. The Atlantic populations had mean Hobs values (0.20-0.34) that were far lower than the Hexp values (0.69-0.83). Also, the FIS values in all of the eastern populations indicate a surfeit of homozygotes over heterozygotes, suggesting a low degree of outcrossing in the Barnegat Bay populations. Six of the ten populations studied (Ham Island, Manahawkin Bay, Shelter Island, Marsh Elder, Harvey Cedar Sedge, and Long Island) show evidence of historical bottlenecks. Mean estimated FST values would suggest that most alleles are undergoing moderate genetic differentiation, with values that range from 0.06 to 0.13. Oyster Creek and Sedge Island demonstrate the largest estimated effective population sizes and may be the most appropriate populations for use in future eelgrass restoration projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalPopulation Ecology
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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Keywords

  • Eelgrass ecology
  • Genetic diversity
  • Historical bottlenecks
  • Microsatellites
  • Restoration ecology
  • Zostera marina

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