Aim We examined the phylogeography of the cold-temperate macroalgal species Fucus distichus L., a key foundation species in rocky intertidal shores and the only Fucus species to occur naturally in both the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.
Location North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans (42° to 77° N).
Methods We genotyped individuals from 23 populations for a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) intergenic spacer (IGS) (n = 608) and the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) region (n = 276), as well as for six nuclear microsatellite loci (n = 592). Phylogeographic structure and connectivity were assessed using population genetic and phylogenetic network analyses.
Results IGS mtDNA haplotype diversity was highest in the North Pacific, and divergence between Pacific haplotypes was much older than that of the single cluster of Atlantic haplotypes. Two ancestral Pacific IGS/COI clusters led to a widespread Atlantic cluster. High mtDNA and microsatellite diversities were observed in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 11 years after severe disturbance by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Main conclusions At least two colonizations occurred from the older North Pacific populations to the North Atlantic between the opening of the Bering Strait and the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum. One colonization event was from the Japanese Archipelago/eastern Aleutians, and a second was from the Alaskan mainland around the Gulf of Alaska. Japanese populations probably arose from a single recolonization event from the eastern Aleutian Islands before the North Pacific–North Atlantic colonization. In the North Atlantic, the Last Glacial Maximum forced the species into at least two known glacial refugia: the Nova Scotia/Newfoundland (Canada) region and Andøya (northern Norway). The presence of two private haplotypes in the central Atlantic suggests the possibility of colonization from other refugia that are now too warm to support F. distichus. With the continuing decline in Arctic ice cover as a result of global climate change, renewed contact between North Pacific and North Atlantic populations of Fucus species is expected.