Long-distance dispersal via ocean currents connects Omani clownfish populations throughout entire species range

Simpson, Stephen D., Harrison, Hugo B., Claereboudt, Michel R., and Planes, Serge (2014) Long-distance dispersal via ocean currents connects Omani clownfish populations throughout entire species range. PLoS ONE, 9 (9). e107610. pp. 1-7.

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Dispersal is a crucial ecological process, driving population dynamics and defining the structure and persistence of populations. Measuring demographic connectivity between discreet populations remains a long-standing challenge for most marine organisms because it involves tracking the movement of pelagic larvae. Recent studies demonstrate local connectivity of reef fish populations via the dispersal of planktonic larvae, while biogeography indicates some larvae must disperse 100–1000 s kilometres. To date, empirical measures of long-distance dispersal are lacking and the full scale of dispersal is unknown. Here we provide the first measure of long-distance dispersal in a coral reef fish, the Omani clownfish Amphiprion omanensis, throughout its entire species range. Using genetic assignment tests we demonstrate bidirectional exchange of first generation migrants, with subsequent social and reproductive integration, between two populations separated by over 400 km. Immigration was 5.4% and 0.7% in each region, suggesting a biased southward exchange, and matched predictions from a physically-coupled dispersal model. This rare opportunity to measure long-distance dispersal demonstrates connectivity of isolated marine populations over distances of 100 s of kilometres and provides a unique insight into the processes of biogeography, speciation and adaptation.

Item ID: 36164
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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© 2014 Simpson et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Projects and Grants: NERC Postdoctorate Fellowship NE/B501720/1, NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship NE/J500616/2, Royal Society Exchange grant
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 11:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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