Connectivity of Caribbean coral populations: complementary insights from empirical and modelled gene flow

Foster, Nicola L., Paris, Claire B., Kool, Johnathan T., Baums, Iliana B., Stevens, Jamie R., Sanchez, Juan A., Bastidas, Carolina, Agudelo, Claudia, Bush, Phillippe, Day, Owen, Ferrari, Renata, Gonzalez, Patricia, Gore, Shannon, Guppy, Reia, McCartney, Michael A., McCoy, Croy, Mendes, Judith, Srinivasan, Ashwanth, Steiner, Sascha, Vermeij, Mark J.A., Weil, Ernesto, and Mumby, Peter J. (2012) Connectivity of Caribbean coral populations: complementary insights from empirical and modelled gene flow. Molecular Ecology, 21 (5). pp. 1143-1157.

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Abstract

Understanding patterns of connectivity among populations of marine organisms is essential for the development of realistic, spatially explicit models of population dynamics. Two approaches, empirical genetic patterns and oceanographic dispersal modelling, have been used to estimate levels of evolutionary connectivity among marine populations but rarely have their potentially complementary insights been combined. Here, a spatially realistic Lagrangian model of larval dispersal and a theoretical genetic model are integrated with the most extensive study of gene flow in a Caribbean marine organism. The 871 genets collected from 26 sites spread over the wider Caribbean subsampled 45.8% of the 1900 potential unique genets in the model. At a coarse scale, significant consensus between modelled estimates of genetic structure and empirical genetic data for populations of the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis is observed. However, modelled and empirical data differ in their estimates of connectivity among northern Mesoamerican reefs indicating that processes other than dispersal may dominate here. Further, the geographic location and porosity of the previously described eastwest barrier to gene flow in the Caribbean is refined. A multi-prong approach, integrating genetic data and spatially realistic models of larval dispersal and genetic projection, provides complementary insights into the processes underpinning population connectivity in marine invertebrates on evolutionary timescales.

Item ID: 22664
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: Caribbean, connectivity, individual-based model, microsatellites, Montastraea annularis
Funders: NERC
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 10:04
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 45%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 45%
01 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 0102 Applied Mathematics > 010202 Biological Mathematics @ 10%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970101 Expanding Knowledge in the Mathematical Sciences @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 80%
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