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Global phylogeography of the fissiparous sea-star genus Coscinasterias
Waters, J.M.; Roy, M.S. (2003). Global phylogeography of the fissiparous sea-star genus Coscinasterias. Mar y Pesca 142: 185-191
In: Mar y Pesca : la revista del hombre de mar. MIP: La Habana. ISSN 0025-2735, more

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  • Waters, J.M.
  • Roy, M.S.

    The fissiparous starfish genus Coscinasterias (Verrill) is represented in shallow waters around many of the world’s continents. This wide distribution could be explained by dispersal, vicariance, or translocation associated with shipping, and represents an excellent system for marine biogeographic research. We conducted a global phylogeographic analysis of 42 Coscinasterias mtDNA cytochrome oxidase 1 sequences (15 haplotypes) from 18 sites, including representatives of all four recognised species. Phylogenetic analysis yielded a robust phylogeny, with strong support for the monophyly of the genus (90% bootstrap support) and of each separate species (99-100%). Haplotypes exhibited strong phylogeographic structure, with robust mtDNA clades often associated with distinct landmasses. A general lack of genetic differentiation within sites may reflect fissiparity. However, shared haplotypes over larger distances (e.g. across Japan), and the presence of related haplotypes on adjacent landmasses (e.g. Tasmania, New Zealand; 1.6 -1.8%) suggest that long-distance dispersal is an important biogeographical process for Coscinasterias W. The 4.0-4.4% divergence between Japanese and South African sister groups may relate to transequatorial dispersal around the onset of the Pleistocene. Divergent Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of C. tenuispina (maximum 1.5%) may deserve subspecific recognition, and high divergences within Australian C. muricata (maximum 8.0%) suggest a species complex.

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