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Extreme genetic diversity and temporal rather than spatial partitioning in a widely distributed coral reef fish
Klanten, O.S.; Choat, J.H.; van Herwerden, L. (2007). Extreme genetic diversity and temporal rather than spatial partitioning in a widely distributed coral reef fish. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 150(4): 659-670.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Klanten, O.S.
  • Choat, J.H.
  • van Herwerden, L.

    Mitochondrial control region (HVR-1) sequences were used to identify patterns of genetic structure and diversity in Naso vlamingii, a widespread coral reef fish with a long evolutionary history. We examined 113 individuals from eight locations across the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Our aims were to determine the spatial scale at which population partitioning occurred and then to evaluate the extent to which either vicariance and/or dispersal events have shaped the population structure of N. vlamingii. The analysis produced several unexpected findings. Firstly, the genetic structure of this species was temporal rather than spatial. Secondly, there was no evidence of a barrier to dispersal throughout the vast distribution range. Apparently larvae of this species traverse vicariance barriers that inhibit inter-oceanic migration of other widespread reef fish taxa. Thirdly, an unusual life history and long evolutionary history was associated with a population structure that was unique amongst coral reef fishes in terms of the magnitude and pattern of genetic diversity (haplotype diversity, h = 1.0 and nucleotide diversity p = 13.6%). In addition to these unique characteristics, there was no evidence of isolation by distance (r = 0.458, R 2 = 0.210, P = 0.078) as has also been shown for some other widespread reef species. However, some reductions in gene flow were observed among and within Ocean basins [Indian–Pacific analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), F st = 0.0766, P < 0.05; West Indian–East Indian–Pacific AMOVA F st = 0.079, P < 0.05]. These findings are contrasted with recent studies of coral reef fishes that imply a greater degree of spatial structuring in coral reef fish populations than would be expected from the dispersive nature of their life cycles. We conclude that increased taxon sampling of coral reef fishes for phylogeographic analysis will provide an extended view of the ecological and evolutionary processes shaping coral reef fish diversity at both ends of the life history spectrum.

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