Allozymic variation at 21-23 loci was studied in 28 populations of Talitrus saltator, 23 populations of Orchestia montagui, 13 populations of O. stephenseni, and five populations of Platorchestia platensis from the Mediterranean Basin. Different levels of gene flow (Nmtheta) were detected within each species at the scale of the whole Mediterranean: O. montagui and P. platensis had low population structure, with levels of Nmtheta > or = 1, whereas the T. saltator and 0. stephenseni populations have values of Nmtheta < 1. The relationship between Nmtheta and geographic distance was analyzed to test for the presence of an isolation by distance pattern in the spatial genetic variation within each species. A model of isolation by distance is useful to describe the pattern of genetic structuring of study species at the scale of the whole Mediterranean: geographic distance explained from 28% to 70% of the variation in gene flow. In the Aegean area all species showed an island model of genetic structuring regardless of the levels of gene flow.
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