Species boundaries within the Acropora humilis species group (Cnidaria; Scleractinia): a morphological and molecular interpretation of evolution

Wolstenholme, J.K., Wallace, C.C., and Chen, C.A. (2003) Species boundaries within the Acropora humilis species group (Cnidaria; Scleractinia): a morphological and molecular interpretation of evolution. Coral Reefs, 22 (2). pp. 155-166.

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Abstract

Species boundaries remain unresolved in many scleractinian corals. In this study, we examine evolutionary boundaries of species in the Acropora humilis species group. Five morphologically discrete units are recognized using principal components and hierarchical cluster analyses of quantitative and qualitative characters, respectively. Maximum parsimony and likelihood analyses of partial 28S rDNA sequences suggest that these morphological units diverged to form two evolutionarily distinct lineages, with A. humilis and A. gemmifera in one lineage and A. digitifera and two morphological types of A. monticulosa in the other. Low levels of sequence divergence but distinct morphologies of A. humilis and A. gemmifera within the former lineage suggest recent divergence or ongoing hybridization between these species. Substantially higher levels of divergence within and between A. digitifera and A. monticulosa suggest a more ancient divergence between these species, with sequence types being shared through occasional introgression without disrupting morphological boundaries. These results suggest that morphology has evolved more rapidly than the 28S rDNA marker, and demonstrate the utility of using morphological and molecular characters as complementary tools for interpreting species boundaries in corals.

Item ID: 4770
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Acropora, morphology, 28S rDNA, species boundaries
ISSN: 1432-0975
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2009 01:28
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 27
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