Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Research Article

Allozyme variation and genetic divergence in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus (Teleostei: Gobiidae)

S.  Stefanni a1a4, E.S.  Gysels a2a3c1, F.A.M.  Volckaert a2 and P.J.  Miller a4

a1 Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas, Centro do IMAR—Instituto do Mar da Universidade dos Açores, PT-9901-862 Horta, Açores, Portugal
a2 Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Ch. de Bériotstraat 32, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
a3 University of Bergen, Institute for Fisheries and Marine Biology, Bergen High Technology Center, N-5020, Norway
a4 School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UG, UK

Medline query on article authors

stefanni s
gysels es
volckaert fa
miller pj


Samples of the widely distributed sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus have been investigated genetically from ten localities in the north-eastern Atlantic, North Sea, western Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea. Levels of genetic diversity and differentiation were assessed with starch (SGE) and cellulose acetate (CAGE) gel electrophoresis for 13 enzyme systems. Genetic differentiation between spatial samples points to a reduction or even absence of gene flow between the Adriatic and the other samples, including the western Mediterranean Sea (pair-wise FST=0·37 and 0·32 for SGE and CAGE respectively). The sample from the Adriatic Sea was clearly differentiated from the other samples at the lactate dehydrogenase loci LDH-A* (SGE and CAGE) and LDH-C* (CAGE). Values for genetic differentiation between Venetian and other sand gobies were of the same order of magnitude as between P. minutus and its closest relative P. lozanoi, suggesting allopatric speciation in the lagoon of Venice. At locations outside the Adriatic Sea, the sand goby has the typical features of a marine fish with a high level of gene flow and a low degree of genetic differentiation.

(Received December 4 2002)
(Accepted August 1 2003)

c1 e-mail: