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Geographic and host‐mediated population genetic structure in a cestode parasite of the three‐spined stickleback

Strobel, Hannah M., Alda, Fernando, Sprehn, C. Grace, Blum, Michael J., Heins, David C.
Biological journal of the Linnean Society 2016 v.119 no.2 pp. 381-396
Gasterosteus aculeatus, Schistocephalus, cluster analysis, cytochrome b, gene flow, genes, genetic variation, geography, haplotypes, host range, host-parasite relationships, hosts, microsatellite repeats, mitochondria, parasites, population structure
Comparative studies of genetic diversity and population structure can shed light on the ecological and evolutionary factors that influence host–parasite interactions. Here we examined whether geography, time and genetic variation in Alaskan three‐spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus Linneaus) hosts shape the population genetic structure of the diphyllobothridean cestode parasite Schistocephalus solidus (Müller, 1776). Host lineages and haplotypes were identified by sequencing the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and host population structure was assessed by Bayesian clustering analysis of allelic variation at 11 microsatellite loci. Parasite population structure was characterized according to allelic variation at eight microsatellite loci. Mantel tests and canonical redundancy analysis were conducted to evaluate the proportion of parasite genetic variation attributable to time and geography vs. host lineage, haplotype, and genotypic cluster. Host and parasite population structure were largely discordant across the study area, probably reflecting differences in gene flow, environmental influences external to the host, and genomic admixture among host lineages. We found that geography explained the greatest proportion of parasite genetic variation, but that variation also reflects time, host lineage, and host haplotype. Associations with host haplotypes suggest that one parasite genotypic cluster exhibits a narrower host range, predominantly infecting the most common host haplotypes, whereas the other parasite cluster infects all haplotypes equally, including rare haplotypes. Although experimental infection trials might prove otherwise, distributional differences in hosts preferentially infected by S. solidus could underlie the observed pattern of population structure.