High genetic connectivity across the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the reef fish Myripristis berndti (Holocentridae)

We posed the following questions: Does the vast geographic range of this species indicate strong population connectivity? Does the ability to occupy both shallow and deep reefs mitigate the impact of past climate changes on the population genetic architecture of a species? Does M. berndti show significant population structure on the scale of the Northwestern Hawaii Islands Marine National Monument, the largest marine protected area in the United States? We addressed these questions on an archipelago scale by surveying 9 locations scattered across the 2500 km length of the Hawaiian Islands and on a ‘global’ scale by including 11 additional sites across 23 000 km between the western Indian Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean

MT Craig

2007

Scholarcy highlights

  • Characterizing gene flow in the marine environment is a troublesome task as the potential for dispersal far exceeds that in the terrestrial environment
  • We posed the following questions: Does the vast geographic range of this species indicate strong population connectivity? Does the ability to occupy both shallow and deep reefs mitigate the impact of past climate changes on the population genetic architecture of a species? Does M. berndti show significant population structure on the scale of the Northwestern Hawaii Islands Marine National Monument, the largest marine protected area in the United States? We addressed these questions on an archipelago scale by surveying 9 locations scattered across the 2500 km length of the Hawaiian Islands and on a ‘global’ scale by including 11 additional sites across 23 000 km between the western Indian Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean
  • The most common haplotype was detected at every site except Cocos-Keeling Island, and the second most common haplotype was detected at all locations
  • Our results suggest that the intermittent Indo-Pacific Barrier is more effective at preventing gene flow than the vast expanse of the East Pacific Barrier
  • One unusual outcome is the apparent lack of structure between tropical eastern Pacific and Indian Ocean samples from the Seychelles
  • Pairwise comparisons of Φst between the Seychelles and both Clipperton and Panama are effectively zero. This occurs despite the fact that the Cocos-Keeling sample, which has a lower sample size than the Seychelles, was significantly different from both Clipperton and Panama in pairwise comparisons of Φst. While this pattern may reflect low sample sizes obtained from IO and TEP sites, sample sizes alone do not readily explain that pattern
  • The capability of juveniles of this species to utilize offshore, pelagic habitat may impart high dispersal potential and explain the high Indo-Pacific-wide connectivity in M. berndti

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