Knowledge of larval dispersal and connectivity in coral reef species is crucial for understanding population dynamics, resilience, and evolution of species. Here, we use ten microsatellites and one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome b) to investigate the genetic population structure, genetic diversity, and historical demography of the powder-blue tang Acanthurus leucosternon across more than 1000 km of the scarcely studied Eastern African region. The global AMOVA results based on microsatellites reveal a low but significant F ST value (F ST = 0.00252 P < 0.001; D EST = 0.025 P = 0.0018) for the 336 specimens sampled at ten sample sites, while no significant differentiation could be found in the mitochondrial cytochrome b dataset. On the other hand, pairwise F ST, PCOA, and hierarchical analysis failed to identify any genetic breaks among the Eastern African populations, supporting the hypothesis of genetic homogeneity. The observed genetic homogeneity among Eastern African sample sites can be explained by the lengthy post-larval stage of A. leucosternon, which can potentiate long-distance dispersal. Tests of neutrality and mismatch distribution signal a population expansion during the mid-Pleistocene period.
Hydrobiologia – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 29, 2017
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