Aim To compare patterns of potential and realized dispersal in ecologically similar and phylogenetically related amphidromous shrimps (Atyidae) in continental and island-dominated landscapes.
Location Eastern Australia and the Caribbean region.
Methods Population genetic and phylogeographic analyses of mitochondrial DNA data for Australatya striolata from eastern Australia (a continental landscape) and Atya scabra from the Caribbean (an island-dominated landscape).
Results Australatya striolata contained two highly divergent genetic lineages in eastern Australia, corresponding to the disjunct northern and southern populations, respectively. These lineages probably represent allopatric cryptic species, both of which were found to have genetically homogeneous population structures within their regions of occurrence. Atya scabra was genetically homogeneous throughout the Caribbean. Recent population expansions were detected for Atya scabra in the Caribbean, but not for northern or southern Australatya striolata.
Main conclusions The findings of this study are consistent with previously reported patterns of genetic population structure in amphidromous species in both continental and island-dominated landscapes, suggesting that potential for widespread dispersal is typically matched by realized patterns of panmixia. We therefore raise the hypothesis that landscape setting (i.e. continent or island-dominated) does not influence dispersal patterns in amphidromous species. Further studies, especially of population genetic patterns of amphidromous species on continents, are needed to test this idea. Interestingly, results of the genetic neutrality tests led us to hypothesize that demographic and drift-mutation equilibrium is attainable although not always evident for amphidromous species on continents, but is not attainable for those species distributed across island settings.