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Limited gene flow in the brooding coral Favia fragum (Esper, 1797)
Goodbody-Gringley, G.; Vollmer, S.V.; Woollacott, R.M.; Giribet, G. (2010). Limited gene flow in the brooding coral Favia fragum (Esper, 1797). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 157(12): 2591-2602.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Goodbody-Gringley, G.
  • Vollmer, S.V.
  • Woollacott, R.M.
  • Giribet, G.

    Understanding population connectivity in corals is particularly important as these organisms are increasingly threatened by abiotic and biotic factors. This study examined the population genetic structure of the brooding coral Favia fragum across four locations in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic using mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Morphological features were also compared to test whether genetic diversity corresponds with skeletal morphology. When comparing across distantly related Caribbean and Bermudian locations, F ST values were high and significant, indicating strong genetic structure. At a local scale, significant genetic structure was found among reefs in Panama, while no genetic structure was found among reefs within Barbados, Bermuda or Jamaica. Surprisingly, a single haplotype for each of the three markers examined was found in Bermuda, where samples varied significantly from all other locations in three out of four morphological features analyzed. These data indicate that gene flow of F. fragum may occur locally among reefs but is highly restricted at distant locations. Furthermore, isolated populations, such as that of Bermuda, must be self-seeding to maintain the observed genetic uniformity.

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