|Hidden genetic diversity in a key model species of coral|In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
A total of 43 colonies of the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis from lagoonal and reef slope sites in the western Indian Ocean (WIO) region were genetically characterised at one nuclear and two mitochondrial sequence markers and six microsatellite loci. Both mitochondrial and microsatellite data support the existence of two reciprocally monophyletic clusters (F- and NF-types) and provide evidence of the existence of two cryptic species of P. damicornis on reefs in WIO region and put current morphological delineation and geographical boundaries of P. damicornis and Pocillopora molokensis into question. The results add to ongoing studies on the phylogeny and phylogeography within the genus Pocillopora, which all point towards a range of unresolved morphological and molecular species boundaries. Nuclear phylogenies derived from the present and previously published sequences show evidence for incomplete lineage sorting and/or introgressive hybridisation between Pocillopora morphospecies. However, the two WIO types largely remain in separate clusters, further supporting the theory that these represent two different species.