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Journal Articles Frontiers in Marine Science Year : 2022

Two Hidden mtDNA-Clades of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish in the Pacific Ocean

Nina Yasuda
  • Function : Author
Jun Inoue
  • Function : Author
Michael R Hall
  • Function : Author
Manoj R Nair
  • Function : Author
Miguel D Fortes
  • Function : Author
Mutsumi Nishida
  • Function : Author
Nat Tuivavalagi
  • Function : Author
Rachel Ravago-Gotanco
  • Function : Author
Zac H Forsman
  • Function : Author
Taha Soliman
  • Function : Author
Ryo Koyanagi
  • Function : Author
Kanako Hisata
  • Function : Author
Cherie A Motti
  • Function : Author
Noriyuki Satoh
  • Function : Author


Recurring outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) severely damage healthy corals, especially in the Western Pacific Ocean. To obtain a better understanding of population genetics of COTS and historical colonization across the Pacific Ocean, complete mitochondrial genomes were sequenced from 243 individuals collected in 11 reef regions. Our results indicate that Pacific COTS ( Acanthaster cf. solaris ) comprise two major clades, an East-Central Pacific (ECP) clade and a Pan-Pacific (PP) clade, separation of which was supported by high bootstrap value. The ECP clade consists of COTS from French Polynesia, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The Hawaii population is unique within this clade, while California COTS are included in EPC clade. On the other hand, the PP clade comprises multiple lineages that contain COTS from Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, GBR, Vanuatu, Fiji and French Polynesia. For example, a lineage of the PP clade, which has the largest geographic distribution, includes COTS from all of these locations. These results suggest two alternative histories of current geographic distributions of COTS in the Pacific Ocean, an ECP clade ancestry or Western Pacific clade ancestry. Although further questions remain to be explored, this discovery provides an evolutionary context for the interpretation of COTS population structure which will aid future coral reef research in the Pacific Ocean, and ultimately improve reef management of COTS.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution

Dates and versions

hal-03867545 , version 1 (23-11-2022)



Nina Yasuda, Jun Inoue, Michael R Hall, Manoj R Nair, Mehdi Adjeroud, et al.. Two Hidden mtDNA-Clades of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish in the Pacific Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science, 2022, 9, ⟨10.3389/fmars.2022.831240⟩. ⟨hal-03867545⟩
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