Low genetic connectivity in a fouling amphipod among man-made structures in the southern North Sea

P.C. Luttikhuizen*, J. Beermann, R.P.M.A. Crooijmans, R.G. Jak, J.W.P. Coolen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Offshore environments are increasingly invaded by man-made structures that form hard-substrate habitats for many marine species. Examples include oil and gas platforms, wind turbines and shipwrecks. One of the hypothesised effects is an increased genetic connectivity among natural populations due to new populations growing on man-made structures that may act as stepping stones. However, few data are available on genetic connectivity among organisms
inhabiting artificial offshore structures. Here, we present a study on the common fouling amphipod Jassa herdmani from offshore structures in the southern North Sea. Partial mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome-c-oxidase 1, N = 514) were obtained from artificial structures at 17 locations in the southern North Sea, including 13 shipwrecks, 2 wind turbines and 2 platforms. Samples from these locations were significantly differentiated, meaning that strong population
structure exists for this species in the area. Levels of intraspecific variation were consistent with stable population sizes. No evidence was found for isolation by distance. Using coalescent simulations, the oldest population subdivision events were estimated to date back to the time the study area was flooded following the Last Glacial Maximum. We therefore tentatively conclude that J. herdmani may have colonised man-made structures from previously existing populations on the
sea floor, and that the increase in offshore installations has not led to an overall increase in genetic connectivity for this species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019


  • Genetic strucutre
  • Connectivity
  • Offshore oil platform
  • Offshore wind farm
  • Amphipod
  • Biofouling
  • Gene flow


Dive into the research topics of 'Low genetic connectivity in a fouling amphipod among man-made structures in the southern North Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Benthos group

    Project: Other

Cite this