Sample Study Background

In the paper entitled "Seascape genomics provides evidence for thermal adaptation and current‐mediated population structure in American lobster (Homarus americanus)", a 2016 paper in Molecular Ecology, the authors investigate seascape landscape genomics using high-throughput sequencing and traditional approaches of population differentiation, paired with investigation of whether they could link environmental drivers to differences in subpopulations (Benestan et al., 2016). They found that the lobsters varied significantly along the environmental gradient they inhabit (which is unsurprising, considering that the temperatures where they live can range from -1 to 26 degrees Celsius).

More specifically, though, most of the neutral genetic structure was explained by ocean currents, whereas positive adaptive selective pressures were best explained by the sea surface temperature structure.

The authors also identified 3 candidate genes likely to be highly involved with temperature response: GRID 1, Vps16, and β‐galactosidase.

The study provided the first comprehensive seascape genetic study for an invertebrate species like this. The study was particularly important given the economic importance of the American lobster and its value for fisheries. The study also used redundancy analysis, a more sophisticated multivariate approach to investigating the effect of oceanographic factors on the connectivity between populations. However, the study only had genetic information from female lobsters, and a substantial portion of the variation in neutral selection has not yet been explained. This last part is not entirely negative, however, since a portion of this variation is likely due to drift, hence cannot be precisely attributed to a particular factor.

  1. Benestan, L., Quinn, B. K., Maaroufi, H., Laporte, M., Clark, F. K., Greenwood, S. J., … Bernatchez, L. (2016). Seascape genomics provides evidence for thermal adaptation and current-mediated population structure in American lobster (Homarus americanus). Molecular Ecology, 25(20), 5073–5092.