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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT A number of different species of krill have been subjected to analysis of possible correlations between selected environmental variables (niche descriptors) and enzyme heterozygosity. With a large-scale commercial fishery of the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba probable, it is imperative to elucidate this species' population structure. Potential correlations between enzyme polymorphism and niche descriptors will contribute to understanding the mechanisms behind the existence of genetically different stocks. Niche descriptors such as temperature variation, vertical migration, and trophic diversity (phyletic diversity of food eaten by the animal) exhibited pronounced correlations with allelic variation in several gene loci coding for selected enzymes. Correlations between niche descriptors and average heterozygosities over groups of enzymes (central metabolic, peripheral) instead of individual enzymes, were less pronounced. These results are discussed in terms of two hypotheses that both ascribe an adaptive role to enzyme variation. The correlation data lent support to both hypotheses without favoring one over the other.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1064, Blindern, 0316 Oslo-3, Norway.


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