Population genetic structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Luke Thomas, Gary Kendrick, Michael Stat, K.L. Travaille, G. Shedrawi, Jason Kennington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© Inter-Research 2014 The effective management of a coral reef system relies on a detailed understanding of the population structure of dominant habitat-forming species. For some corals, however, high levels of phenotypic plasticity have made species delineation based on morphological characteristics alone unreliable, suggesting that previous studies of population genetic structure may have been influenced by the inclusion of multiple genetic lineages in the analyses. We examined the population structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along the World Heritage Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia, and recovered 2 mitochondrial haplotypes from sympatrically occurring colonies possessing morphological characteristics consistent with taxonomic classification of P. damicornis. Despite a high degree of genetic differentiation between these lineages, we detected low levels of unidirectional admixture between them, suggesting that reproductive barriers are not fully developed. We found dual modes of reproduction for both lineages with considerable variation in the contribution of sexual reproduction among sample sites. Lastly, we identified a high dispersal potential of sexually produced propagules in the most common lineage with positive spatial autocorrelation detected over distances up to 60 km. Based on these results, it appears that populations of P. damicornis have a high capacity to recover from environmental perturbations as long as the effects of disturbances are patchy across Ningaloo Reef.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume513
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Western Australia
genetic structure
population genetics
population structure
reefs
reef
sexual reproduction
phenotypic plasticity
autocorrelation
genetic differentiation
coral reefs
coral reef
corals
coral
haplotypes
perturbation
taxonomy
disturbance
coasts
genetic variation

Cite this

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title = "Population genetic structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia",
abstract = "{\circledC} Inter-Research 2014 The effective management of a coral reef system relies on a detailed understanding of the population structure of dominant habitat-forming species. For some corals, however, high levels of phenotypic plasticity have made species delineation based on morphological characteristics alone unreliable, suggesting that previous studies of population genetic structure may have been influenced by the inclusion of multiple genetic lineages in the analyses. We examined the population structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along the World Heritage Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia, and recovered 2 mitochondrial haplotypes from sympatrically occurring colonies possessing morphological characteristics consistent with taxonomic classification of P. damicornis. Despite a high degree of genetic differentiation between these lineages, we detected low levels of unidirectional admixture between them, suggesting that reproductive barriers are not fully developed. We found dual modes of reproduction for both lineages with considerable variation in the contribution of sexual reproduction among sample sites. Lastly, we identified a high dispersal potential of sexually produced propagules in the most common lineage with positive spatial autocorrelation detected over distances up to 60 km. Based on these results, it appears that populations of P. damicornis have a high capacity to recover from environmental perturbations as long as the effects of disturbances are patchy across Ningaloo Reef.",
author = "Luke Thomas and Gary Kendrick and Michael Stat and K.L. Travaille and G. Shedrawi and Jason Kennington",
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Population genetic structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. / Thomas, Luke; Kendrick, Gary; Stat, Michael; Travaille, K.L.; Shedrawi, G.; Kennington, Jason.

In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 513, 2014, p. 111-119.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Population genetic structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

AU - Thomas, Luke

AU - Kendrick, Gary

AU - Stat, Michael

AU - Travaille, K.L.

AU - Shedrawi, G.

AU - Kennington, Jason

PY - 2014

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AB - © Inter-Research 2014 The effective management of a coral reef system relies on a detailed understanding of the population structure of dominant habitat-forming species. For some corals, however, high levels of phenotypic plasticity have made species delineation based on morphological characteristics alone unreliable, suggesting that previous studies of population genetic structure may have been influenced by the inclusion of multiple genetic lineages in the analyses. We examined the population structure of the Pocillopora damicornis morphospecies along the World Heritage Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia, and recovered 2 mitochondrial haplotypes from sympatrically occurring colonies possessing morphological characteristics consistent with taxonomic classification of P. damicornis. Despite a high degree of genetic differentiation between these lineages, we detected low levels of unidirectional admixture between them, suggesting that reproductive barriers are not fully developed. We found dual modes of reproduction for both lineages with considerable variation in the contribution of sexual reproduction among sample sites. Lastly, we identified a high dispersal potential of sexually produced propagules in the most common lineage with positive spatial autocorrelation detected over distances up to 60 km. Based on these results, it appears that populations of P. damicornis have a high capacity to recover from environmental perturbations as long as the effects of disturbances are patchy across Ningaloo Reef.

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