Genetic Variation and Relatedness of Freshwater Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margaritifera L. populations

Abstract: The two papers presented in this thesis focus on population genetic study on freshwater pearl mussel populations in Sweden, using RAPD method. In paper I, I examine genetic variation within and between 5 populations in a single drainage area in south western Sweden. In paper II, I study the evolutionary relationship, and how genetic variation is related to population size, age structure and geographic isolation in 14 populations of freshwater pearl mussel in south central Sweden. In both papers I and II, I found that genetic variation was larger than found in previous studies using other techniques, and variation was larger between than within populations. I did not found any correlation between geographic and genetic distance, which indicates that mussel populations have been adapted locally to environmental factors in a relatively short time. In paper I, I found that genetic distance between populations was greater than found in other studies, despite small geographic distances. In paper II, I found that populations were highly differentiated indicating little gene flow between them. There was no significant positive relation between genetic variation and population size or age structure but there was a significant positive relation between mean age and population size indicating that many populations have gone through bottlenecks recently.