Extremely low genetic diversity across mangrove taxa reflects past sea level changes and hints at poor future responses

Guo, Zixiao, Li, Xinnian, He, Ziwen, Yang, Yuchen, Wang, Wenqing, Zhong, Cairong, Greenberg, Anthony J., Wu, Chung-I, Duke, Norman C., and Shi, Suhua (2018) Extremely low genetic diversity across mangrove taxa reflects past sea level changes and hints at poor future responses. Global Change Biology, 24 (4). pp. 1741-1748.

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The projected increases in sea levels are expected to affect coastal ecosystems. Tropical communities, anchored by mangrove trees and having experienced frequent past sea level changes, appear to be vibrant at present. However, any optimism about the resilience of these ecosystems is premature because the impact of past climate events may not be reflected in the current abundance. To assess the impact of historical sea level changes, we conducted an extensive genetic diversity survey on the Indo-Malayan coast, a hotspot with a large global mangrove distribution. A survey of 26 populations in six species reveals extremely low genome-wide nucleotide diversity and hence very small effective population sizes (Ne) in all populations. Whole-genome sequencing of three mangrove species further shows the decline in Ne to be strongly associated with the speed of past changes in sea level. We also used a recent series of flooding events in Yalong Bay, southern China, to test the robustness of mangroves to sea level changes in relation to their genetic diversity. The events resulted in the death of half of the mangrove trees in this area. Significantly, less genetically diverse mangrove species suffered much greater destruction. The dieback was accompanied by a drastic reduction in local invertebrate biodiversity. We thus predict that tropical coastal communities will be seriously endangered as the global sea level rises. Well-planned coastal development near mangrove forests will be essential to avert this crisis.

Item ID: 52779
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: mangrove; plants; dieback; genetics; low diversity; evolution; sea level rise; biogeography; human disturbance; China; Malaysia; IWP
Funders: National Science Foundation of China (NSFC), National Key Research and Development Plan of China (NKRDP), 985 Project, Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (FRFCUC), Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU)
Projects and Grants: NSFC grant no. 91731301, NSFC grant no. 31600182, NKRDP 2017FY100705, 985 project grant 33000-31131105, FRFCUC grant no. 17lgpy99, SYSU Chang Hungta Science Foundation
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2018 03:49
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310599 Genetics not elsewhere classified @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310406 Evolutionary impacts of climate change @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310402 Biogeography and phylogeography @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators @ 30%
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