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Article
Genetic Evidence Supports Larval Retention in the Western Caribbean for an Invertebrate With High Dispersal Capability (Ophiothrix suensonii: Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea)
Coral Reefs
  • Vincent P. Richards, Nova Southeastern University; Clemson University
  • Melissa B. DeBiasse, Nova Southeastern University
  • Mahmood S. Shivji, Nova Southeastern University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
3-1-2015
Keywords
  • Brittle star,
  • Caribbean,
  • Cryptic species,
  • Echinoderm,
  • Genetic connectivity,
  • Population demography
Peer Reviewed
1
Abstract
The brittle star Ophiothrix suensonii is a common coral reef sponge commensal with high dispersal potential. Here, we utilize COI sequence data from 264 O. suensonii individuals collected from 10 locations throughout Florida and the Caribbean to investigate dispersal dynamics and demographic history. Locations separated by up to 1,700 km lacked genetic differentiation, confirming the ability for long-range dispersal. However, significant differentiation was detected among other regions. Samples from Utila, Honduras showed the greatest differentiation, suggesting that the circulation of the Mesoamerican gyre could be a significant factor restricting gene flow in this region. Demographic analyses provided strong evidence for a population expansion, possibly out of Florida, through the Caribbean, and into Honduras, which commenced in the early Pleistocene. However, the presence of a clade of rare haplotypes, which split much earlier (mid-Pliocene), indicates that O. suensonii persisted long before its recent expansion, suggesting a cyclic history of population contraction and expansion. Finally, patterns of gene flow are not concordant with contemporary surface currents; rather, they reflect historical movements possibly linked with changes in circulation during periods of Pleistocene climate change.
Comments

©Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Additional Comments
NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Science award #: NA12NOS4260144
ResearcherID
G-4080-2013
DOI
10.1007/s00338-014-1237-z
Citation Information
Vincent P. Richards, Melissa B. DeBiasse and Mahmood S. Shivji. "Genetic Evidence Supports Larval Retention in the Western Caribbean for an Invertebrate With High Dispersal Capability (Ophiothrix suensonii: Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea)" Coral Reefs Vol. 34 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 313 - 325 ISSN: 0722-4028
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mahmood-shivji/49/