skip to main content


Title: Population genetic structure between Yap and Palau for the coral Acropora hyacinthus

Information on connectivity is becoming increasingly in demand as marine protected areas are being designed as an integral part of a network to protect marine resources at the ecosystem level. Larval dispersal and population structure, however, remain very difficult to assess. Here, we tested the predictions of a detailed oceanographic connectivity model of larval dispersal and coral recruitment within Palau and between Palau and Yap, which was developed to support the review of the existing network of marine protected areas in Palau. We used high throughput microsatellite genotyping of the coralAcropora hyacinthusto characterize population genetic structure. PairwiseFSTvalues between Palau and Yap (0.10), Palau and Ngulu (0.09) and Yap and Ngulu (0.09) were all significant and similar to pairwiseFSTvalues of sites within Palau (0.02–0.12) and within Yap (0.02–0.09) highlighting structure at island scale and indicating that recruitment may be even more localized than previously anticipated. A bottleneck test did not reveal any signs of a founder effect between Yap and Palau. Overall, the data supports the idea that recovery ofA. hyacinthusin Palau did not come exclusively from a single source but most likely came from a combination of areas, including sites within Palau. In light of these results there seems to be very little connectivity around the barrier reef and management recommendation would be to increase the number or the size of MPAs within Palau.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10018744
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
PeerJ
Date Published:
Journal Name:
PeerJ
Volume:
4
ISSN:
2167-8359
Page Range / eLocation ID:
e2330
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Upright branching sponges, such asAplysina cauliformis, provide critical three‐dimensional habitat for other organisms and assist in stabilizing coral reef substrata, but are highly susceptible to breakage during storms. Breakage can increase sponge fragmentation, contributing to population clonality and inbreeding. Conversely, storms could provide opportunities for new genotypes to enter populations via larval recruitment, resulting in greater genetic diversity in locations with frequent storms. The unprecedented occurrence of two Category 5 hurricanes in close succession during 2017 in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) provided a unique opportunity to evaluate whether recolonization of newly available substrata on coral reefs was due to local (e.g. re‐growth of remnants, fragmentation, larval recruitment) or remote (e.g. larval transport and immigration) sponge genotypes. We sampledA. cauliformisadults and juveniles from four reefs around St. Thomas and two in St. Croix (USVI). Using a 2bRAD protocol, all samples were genotyped for single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Results showed that these major storm events favoured sponge larval recruitment but did not increase the genetic diversity ofA. cauliformispopulations. Recolonization of substratum post‐storms via clonality was lower (15%) than expected and instead was mainly due to sexual reproduction (85%) via local larval recruitment. Storms did enhance gene flow among and within reef sites located south of St. Thomas and north of St. Croix. Therefore, populations of clonal marine species with low pelagic dispersion, such asA. cauliformis, may benefit from increased frequency and magnitude of hurricanes for the maintenance of genetic diversity and to combat inbreeding, enhancing the resilience of Caribbean sponge communities to extreme storm events.

     
    more » « less
  2. The increase in genetic distance between marine individuals or populations with increasing distance has often been assumed to be influenced by dispersal distance. In turn, dispersal distance has often been assumed to correlate strongly with pelagic larval duration (PLD). We examined the consistency of these assumptions in species with long planktonic durations. Reviewing multiple marine species, Selkoe & Toonen (2011; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 436:291-305) demonstrated significant fit of a species’ PLD with metrics of genetic distance between sampling sites. However, for long dispersers (PLD >10 d) whose dispersal is more influenced by ocean currents, the fit of PLD and genetic connectivity metrics was not significant. We tested if using realistic ocean currents to determine simulated dispersal distances would produce an improved proxy for larval dispersal that correlates more strongly with genetic connectivity metrics. We estimated the dispersal distance of propagules for locations in the genetic studies compiled by Selkoe and Toonen with a global ocean model (Mercator, 1/12° resolution). The model-derived estimates of dispersal distance did not correlate better than PLD against the genetic diversity metrics globalFSTkm-1and isolation-by-distance (IBD) slope. We explored 2 explanations: (1) our ocean circulation-based dispersal distance estimates are too simple to produce biologically meaningful improvement over PLD, and (2) IBD slope is not a powerful predictor of variation in dispersal distance between species with long PLD. Exploring these explanations suggests directions for future research which will enable better quantitative understanding of genetic diversity and its spatial distribution in coastal marine organisms.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Understanding how environmental variation influences population genetic structure is important for conservation management because it can reveal how human stressors influence population connectivity, genetic diversity and persistence. We used riverscape genetics modelling to assess whether climatic and habitat variables were related to neutral and adaptive patterns of genetic differentiation (population‐specific and pairwiseFST) within five metapopulations (79 populations, 4583 individuals) of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Columbia River Basin,USA. Using 151 putatively neutral and 29 candidate adaptiveSNPloci, we found that climate‐related variables (winter precipitation, summer maximum temperature, winter highest 5% flow events and summer mean flow) best explained neutral and adaptive patterns of genetic differentiation within metapopulations, suggesting that climatic variation likely influences both demography (neutral variation) and local adaptation (adaptive variation). However, we did not observe consistent relationships between climate variables andFSTacross all metapopulations, underscoring the need for replication when extrapolating results from one scale to another (e.g. basin‐wide to the metapopulation scale). Sensitivity analysis (leave‐one‐population‐out) revealed consistent relationships between climate variables andFSTwithinthree metapopulations; however, these patterns were not consistent in two metapopulations likely due to small sample sizes (= 10). These results provide correlative evidence that climatic variation has shaped the genetic structure of steelhead populations and highlight the need for replication and sensitivity analyses in land and riverscape genetics.

     
    more » « less
  4. Many marine animals have a biphasic life cycle in which demersal adults spawn pelagic larvae with high dispersal potential. An understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal is critical for describing connectivity and local retention. Existing tools in oceanography, genetics, and ecology can each reveal only part of the overall pattern of larval dispersal. We combined insights from a coupled physical-biological model, parentage analyses, and field surveys to span larval dispersal pathways, endpoints, and recruitment of the convict surgeonfish Acanthurus triostegus . Our primary study region was the windward coast of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. A high abundance of juvenile A . triostegus occurred along the windward coast, with the highest abundance inside Kāne‘ohe Bay. The output from our numerical model showed that larval release location accounted for most of the variation in simulated settlement. Seasonal variation in settlement probability was apparent, and patterns observed in model simulations aligned with in situ observations of recruitment. The bay acted as a partial retention zone, with larvae that were released within or entering the bay having a much higher probability of settlement. Genetic parentage analyses aligned with larval transport modeling results, indicating self-recruitment of A . triostegus within the bay as well as recruitment into the bay from sites outside. We conclude that Kāne‘ohe Bay retains reef fish larvae and promotes settlement based on concordant results from numerical models, parentage analyses, and field observations. Such interdisciplinary approaches provide details of larval dispersal and recruitment heretofore only partially revealed. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Metapopulation and source–sink dynamics are increasingly considered within spatially explicit management of wildlife populations, yet the application of these concepts has generally been limited to comparisons of the performance (e.g., demographic rates or dispersal) inside vs. outside protected areas, and at spatial scales that do not encompass an entire metapopulation. In the present study, a spatially explicit, size‐structured matrix model was applied to simulate the dynamics of an Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) metapopulation in the second largest estuary in the United States—the Albemarle‐Pamlico Estuarine System in North Carolina. The model integrated larval dispersal simulations with empirical measures of oyster demographic rates to simulate the dynamics of the entire oyster metapopulation consisting of 646 reefs and five reef types: (1) restored subtidal reefs closed to harvest (i.e., sanctuaries or protected areas;n = 14), (2) restored subtidal reefs open to harvest (n = 53), (3) natural subtidal reefs open to harvest (n = 301), (4) natural intertidal reefs open to harvest (n = 129), and (5) oyster reefs on manmade, hard structures such as seawalls (n = 149). Key findings included (1) an overall stable, yet slightly declining oyster metapopulation, (2) variable reef type‐specific population trajectories, largely dependent on spatiotemporal variation in larval recruitment, (3) a greater relative importance of inter‐reef larval connectivity on metapopulation dynamics than local larval retention processes, and (4) spatiotemporal variation in the source–sink status of reef subpopulations wherein subtidal sanctuaries and reefs located in the northeastern portion of the estuary were frequent sources. From a management perspective, continued protection of oyster sanctuaries is warranted. Sanctuaries represented only 6.2% of the total reef area, however, they harbored 19% (± 2%) of all oysters and produced 25% (± 6%) of all larvae settling within the metapopulation. Additional management priorities should focus on restoration or conservation of subpopulations that serve as frequent source subpopulations (including those with poor demographic rates, but high connectivity potential), and management of harvest from sink subpopulations. The application of a source–sink framework and similar integrated modeling approach could inform management of oysters in other systems, as well as other species that exhibit similar metapopulation characteristics.

     
    more » « less