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Life history, larval dispersal, and connectivity in coral reef fish among the Scattered Islands of the Mozambique Channel

Abstract : The Western Indian Ocean harbors one of the world’s most diverse marine biota yet is threatened by exploitation with few conservation measures in place. Primary candidates for conservation in the region are the Scattered Islands (Iles Eparses), a group of relatively pristine and uninhabited islands in the Mozambique Channel. However, while optimal conservation strategies depend on the degree of population connectivity among spatially isolated habitats, very few studies have been conducted in the area. Here, we use highly variable microsatellite markers from two damselfishes (Amphiprion akallopisos and Dascyllus trimaculatus) with differing life history traits [pelagic larval duration (PLD), adult habitat] to compare genetic structure and connectivity among these islands using classic population structure indices as well as Bayesian clustering methods. All classical fixation indexes FST, RST, G0 ST, and Jost’s D show stronger genetic differentiation among islands for A. akallopisos compared to D. trimaculatus, consistent with the former species’ shorter PLD and stronger adult site attachment, which may restrict larval dispersal potential. In agreement with these results, the Bayesian analysis revealed clear genetic differentiation among the islands in A. akallopisos, separating the southern group (Bassas da India and Europa) from the center (Juan de Nova) and northern (Iles Glorieuses) islands, but not for D. trimaculatus. Local oceanographic patterns such as eddies that occur along the Mozambique Channel appear to parallel the results reported for A. akallopisos, but such features seem to have little effect on the genetic differentiation of D. trimaculatus. The contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation between species within the same family highlight the importance of accounting for diverse life history traits when assessing community-wide connectivity, an increasingly common consideration in conservation planning.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 2:21:16 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 1:44:00 PM




J. L. O’donnell, Ricardo Beldade, C. Mills, Hannah E. Williams, Giacomo Bernardi. Life history, larval dispersal, and connectivity in coral reef fish among the Scattered Islands of the Mozambique Channel. Coral Reefs, Springer Verlag, 2017, 36, ⟨10.1007/s00338-016-1495-z⟩. ⟨hal-01561992⟩



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