Using Genetics as an Indirect Estimator of Larval Dispersal
The relationship between potential and realized dispersal has rested generally on indirect techniques to estimate widespread larval movement. A few studies have taken advantage of population genetics to try to track larval movements on a broad scale. The most logical way to group sequences is phylogenetically. Using individual nucleotide positions as characters, the sequences are related to one another using phylogenetic software such as PAUP, or PHYLIP. Genetic studies of several species that span the Point Conception boundary are rare, but in general have failed to show the same type of dramatic genetic differentiation that has been shown for populations spanning biogeographic boundaries on the Southeast coast of North America. Genetic differences between populations of marine organisms allow powerful, but indirect, inferences about dispersal between distant localities. In general, there appears to be high gene flow in species with high dispersal potential and low gene flow in species with low dispersal potential.