Data from: Fine scale hierarchical genetic structure and kinship analysis of the ascidian Pyura chilensis in the southeastern Pacific
Morales-González, Sarai; Giles, Emily C.; Quesada-Calderón, Suany; Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo (2019), Data from: Fine scale hierarchical genetic structure and kinship analysis of the ascidian Pyura chilensis in the southeastern Pacific, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g5b5q70
Studying population structure and genetic diversity at fine spatial scales is key for a better understanding of demographic processes that influence population connectivity. This is particularly important in marine benthic organisms that rely on larval dispersal to maintain connectivity among populations. Here, we report the results of a genetic survey of the ascidian Pyura chilensis from three localities along the southeastern Pacific. This study follows up on a previous report that described a genetic break in this region among localities only 20 km apart. By implementing a hierarchical sampling design at four spatial levels and using ten polymorphic microsatellite markers, we test if differences in fine-scale population structure explain the previously reported genetic break. We compared genetic spatial autocorrelations, as well as kinship and relatedness distributions within and among localities adjacent to the genetic break. We found no evidence of significant autocorrelation at the scale up to 50 m despite the low dispersal potential of P. chilensis that has been reported in the literature. We also found that the proportion of related individuals in close proximity (< 1 km) was higher than the proportion of related individuals further apart. These results were consistent in the three localities. Our results suggest that the spatial distribution of related individuals can be nonrandom at small spatial scales and suggests that dispersal might be occasionally limited in this species or that larval cohorts can disperse in the plankton as clustered groups. Overall, this study sheds light on new aspects of the life of this ascidian as well as confirms the presence of a genetic break at 39 ° S latitude. Also, our data indicate there is not enough evidence to confirm that this genetic break can be explained by differences in fine-scale genetic patterns among localities.