Development and application of microsatellites in Carcinus maenas: genetic differentiation between Northern and Central Portuguese populations.
Carcinus maenas, the common shore crab of European coastal waters, has recently gained notoriety due to its globally invasive nature associated with drastic ecological and economic effects. The native ubiquity and worldwide importance of C. maenas has resulted in it becoming one of the best-studied estuarine crustacean species globally. Accordingly, there is significant interest in investigating the population genetic structure of this broadly distributed crab along European and invaded coastlines. Here, we developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers for one dinucleotide and two trinucleotide microsatellite loci, resulting from an enrichment process based on Portuguese populations. Combining these three new markers with six existing markers, we examined levels of genetic diversity and population structure of C. maenas in two coastal regions from Northern and Central Portugal. Genotypes showed that locus polymorphism ranged from 10 to 42 alleles (N=135) and observed heterozygosity per locus ranged from 0.745 to 0.987 with expected heterozygosity ranging from 0.711 to 0.960; values typical of marine decapods. The markers revealed weak, but significant structuring among populations (global FST=0.004) across a 450 km (over-water distance) spatial scale. Combinations of these and existing markers will be useful for studying population genetic parameters at a range of spatial scales of C. maenas throughout its expanding species range.