- Coral reef connectivity,
- Genetic diversity,
- Cytochrome c oxidase subunit one (COI)
The genetic population structure of the common branching vase sponge, Callyspongia vaginalis, was determined along the entire length (465 km) of the Florida reef system from Palm Beach to the Dry Tortugas based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene. Populations of C. vaginalis were highly structured (overall ϕST = 0.33), in some cases over distances as small as tens of kilometers. However, nonsignificant pairwise ϕST values were also found between a few relatively distant sampling sites suggesting that some long distance larval dispersal may occur via ocean currents or transport in sponge fragments along continuous, shallow coastlines. Indeed, sufficient gene flow appears to occur along the Florida reef tract to obscure a signal of isolation by distance, but not to homogenize COI haplotype frequencies. The strong genetic differentiation among most of the sampling locations suggests that recruitment in this species is largely local source-driven, pointing to the importance of further elucidating general connectivity patterns along the Florida reef tract to guide the spatial scale of management efforts.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mahmood-shivji/43/