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Tropical fishes in a temperate sea: evolution of the wrasse Thalassoma pavo and the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense in the Mediterranean and the adjacent Macaronesian and Cape Verde Archipelagos
Domingues, V.S.; Alexandrou, M.; Almada, V.C.; Robertson, D.R.; Brito, A.; Santos, R.S.; Bernardi, G. (2008). Tropical fishes in a temperate sea: evolution of the wrasse Thalassoma pavo and the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense in the Mediterranean and the adjacent Macaronesian and Cape Verde Archipelagos. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 154(3): 465-474. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-008-0941-z
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Domingues, V.S.
  • Alexandrou, M.
  • Almada, V.C.
  • Robertson, D.R.
  • Brito, A.
  • Santos, R.S., more
  • Bernardi, G.

Abstract
    The northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea share geological histories and display great faunal affinities. The majority of the Mediterranean species have Atlantic origins, with a few species with tropical affinities. These include the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense and the wrasse Thalassoma pavo that are restricted to the subtropical northeastern Atlantic, the Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Madeira, and Canaries) and the southern Mediterranean. The Pleistocene glaciations have been described as having different effects on the fauna of the two regions. During glacial peaks, Mediterranean waters remained warmer than those of the adjacent Atlantic. Within the eastern Atlantic, the effects of Pleistocene glaciations were differentiated. Here, we perform a comparative analysis focusing on T. pavo and S. cretense populations from the northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean to assess the effects of Pleistocene glaciations in these two species. Sequences from the mitochondrial control region were obtained and analyzed combining phylogeographic and demographic approaches. Gene flow between Atlantic and Mediterranean populations was shown to be very high. The Mediterranean populations of T. pavo and S. cretense showed high levels of genetic diversity, even in the eastern basin, pointing to an ancient colonization event. This suggests that both species must have been able to persist in the Mediterranean during the cold Pleistocene periods. Historical migration estimates revealed a Mediterranean towards Atlantic trend in the case of T. pavo, which may reflect the re-colonization of areas in the Atlantic by fish that survived the cold phases in relatively warmer Mediterranean refugia. Our data also showed that within the Macaronesian Archipelagos, migrations occurred from Madeira towards the Azores, for both T. pavo and S. cretense, thus supporting a post-glacial colonization of the Azores by fish that persisted in the warmer region of Madeira. Similar geographic distributions, thermal affinities, and means of dispersion for T. pavo and S. cretense resulted in a similar response to the effects of Pleistocene glaciations, as evidenced by identical phylogeographic patterns.

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