Detection of population genetic structure of zooplankton at medium-to-small spatial scales in the absence of physical barriers has remained challenging and controversial. The large population sizes and high rates of gene flow characteristic of zooplankton have made resolution of geographical differentiation very difficult, especially when using few genetic markers and assuming equilibrium conditions. Next-generation sequencing now allows simultaneous sampling of hundreds to thousands of genetic markers; new analytical approaches allow studies under nonequilibrium conditions and directional migration. Samples of the North Atlantic Ocean planktonic copepod, Centropages typicus, were analysed using restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing on a PROTON platform. Although prior studies revealed no genetic differentiation of populations across the geographical range of the species, analysis of RAD tags showed significant structure across the North Atlantic Ocean. We also compared the likelihood for models of connectivity among NW Atlantic populations under various directional flow scenarios that replicate oceanographic conditions of the sampled domain. High-density marker sampling with RAD sequencing markedly outperformed other technical and analytical approaches in detection of population genetic structure and characterization of connectivity of this high geneflow zooplankton species.

(DOI: 10.1111/mec.13581)