Genetic admixture of burbot (Teleostei: Lota lota) in Lake Constance from two European glacial refugia.Mol Ecol. 2006 Oct; 15(12):3583-600.ME
The burbot, Lota lota, is the only freshwater species of the codfish family and has a Holarctic distribution. Pleistocene glaciations caused significant geographical differentiation in the past, but its life history characterized by winter spawning migrations over large distances is likely to homogenize populations by contemporary gene flow. We investigated the population genetic structure of 541 burbots from Lake Constance and adjacent Rhine and Danube tributaries in Europe using the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region and 11 microsatellites. Microsatellites revealed considerable population divergence (F(ST) = 0.26) and evidenced recent bottlenecks in two Central European rivers. In accordance to previous evidence two main phylogeographic lineages (Atlantic and Danubian) were found co-occurring at similar frequencies in Lake Constance, where they currently undergo random mating as indicated by microsatellites. The Danubian lineage contributed only a small proportion to the lake's mtDNA diversity, and probably expanded within the lake shortly after its formation approximately 10,000-15,000 BP. The larger Atlantic haplotype diversity suggested a population expansion older than the lake itself. Levels of admixture at microsatellite loci were less obvious due to their high variability, and coalescence methods were used to estimate past admixture proportions. Our results reinforce a model of a two-step colonization of Europe by burbot from an ancestral Danubian refuge, and confirm the persistence of a secondary Atlantic refuge, as proposed to exist for other freshwater fish. We conclude that the present-day burbot population in Lake Constance bears the genetic signature of both contemporary gene flow and historical separation events.