Background: The marginal seas of northwestern Pacific are characterized by unique topography and intricate hydrology. Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain genetic patterns of marine species inhabiting the region: the historical glaciations hypothesis suggests population genetic divergence between sea basins, whereas the Changjiang River outflow hypothesis suggests genetic break in line with the Changjiang Estuary. Here the phylogeography of bivalve Cyclina sinensis was investigated to test the validity of these two hypotheses for intertidal species in three marginal seas-the East China Sea (ECS), the South China Sea (SCS), and the Japan Sea (JPS). Methodology/Principal Findings: Fragments of two markers (mitochondrial COI and nuclear ITS-1) were sequenced for 335 individuals collected from 21 populations. Significant pairwise ΦST were observed between different marginal sea populations. Network analyses illustrated restricted distribution of haplogroups/sub-haplogroups to sea basins, with a narrow secondary contact zone between the ECS and SCS. Demographic expansion was inferred for ECS and SCS lineages using mismatch distributions, neutral tests, and extended Bayesian Skyline Plots. Based on a molecular clock method, the divergence times among COI lineages were estimated dating from the Pleistocene. Conclusions: The phylogeographical break revealed for C. sinensis populations is congruent with the historical isolation of sea basins rather than the putative Changjiang River outflow barrier. The large land bridges extending between seas during glaciation allowed accumulation of mutations and subsequently gave rise to deep divergent lineages. The low-dispersal capacity of the clam and coastal oceanography may facilitate the maintenance of the historical patterns as barriers shift. Our study supports the historical glaciations hypothesis for interpreting present-day phylogeographical patterns of C. sinensis, and highlights the importance of historical glaciations for generating genetic structure of marine coastal species especially those with low-dispersal abilities in northwestern Pacific. © 2012 Ni et al.
Ni, G., Li, Q., Kong, L., & Zheng, X. (2012). Phylogeography of Bivalve Cyclina sinensis: Testing the Historical Glaciations and Changjiang River Outflow Hypotheses in Northwestern Pacific. PLoS ONE, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049487