Sperm dispersal distances estimated by parentage analysis in a brooding scleractinian coral

Warner, Patricia A., Willis, Bette L., and Van Oppen, Madeleine (2016) Sperm dispersal distances estimated by parentage analysis in a brooding scleractinian coral. Molecular Ecology, 25 (6). pp. 1398-1415.

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Abstract

Within populations of brooding sessile corals, sperm dispersal constitutes the mechanism by which gametes interact and mating occurs, and forms the first link in the network of processes that determine specieswide connectivity patterns. However, almost nothing is known about sperm dispersal for any internally fertilizing coral. In this study, we conducted a parentage analysis on coral larvae collected from an area of mapped colonies, to measure the distance sperm disperses for the first time in a reef-building coral and estimated the mating system characteristics of a recently identified putative cryptic species within the Seriatopora hystrix complex (ShA; Warner etal. 2015). We defined consensus criteria among several replicated methods (colony 2.0, cervus 3.0, mltr v3.2) to maximize accuracy in paternity assignments. Thirteen progeny arrays indicated that this putative species produces exclusively sexually derived, primarily outcrossed larvae (mean t(m)=0.999) in multiple paternity broods (mean r(p)=0.119). Self-fertilization was directly detected at low frequency for all broods combined (2.8%), but comprised 23% of matings in one brood. Although over 82% of mating occurred between colonies within 10m of each other (mean sperm dispersal=5.5m +/- 4.37 SD), we found no evidence of inbreeding in the established population. Restricted dispersal of sperm compared to slightly greater larval dispersal appears to limit inbreeding among close relatives in this cryptic species. Our findings establish a good basis for further work on sperm dispersal in brooding corals and provide the first information about the mating system of a newly identified and abundant cryptic species.

Item ID: 44064
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-294X
Keywords: animal mating/breeding systems, coral, parentage analysis, Seriatopora, sperm dispersal
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science at James Cook University (AIMS@JCU), Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF), Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 07:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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