Population genetics of Saccharina latissima (sugar kelp) in Norway
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The interest in cultivating sugar kelp, Saccharina latissima in Norway is increasing and therefore knowledge about the population genetics of this species is important. A total of 345 samples were genotyped from sixteen sampling locations along the Norwegian coast, and with special emphasis on Norway’s two biggest fjord systems; Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. Microsatellite- and statistical analyses of sampled S. latissima populations demonstrated some genetic differentiation, and the result of population structure analyses suggested that the material could be separated into three different genetic groups. The overall pattern of the genetic structure indicated some restrictions on geneflow inward the fjords, while the gene flow along the coast is quite good. This was supported by the pair-wise FST values and a significant isolation-by-distance pattern. The result from the present study intended to give important knowledge about sugar kelp population genetics in Norway and be valuable for implementation of coastal regulations for kelp cultivation activity.