[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In March 2012, the authors met at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, North Carolina, USA, to discuss approaches and cooperative ventures in Indo-Pacific phylogeography. The group emerged with a series of findings: (1) Marine population structure is complex, but single locus mtDNA studies continue to provide powerful first assessment of phylogeographic patterns. (2) These patterns gain greater significance/power when resolved in a diversity of taxa. New analytical tools are emerging to address these analyses with multi-taxon approaches. (3) Genome-wide analyses are warranted if selection is indicated by surveys of standard markers. Such indicators can include discordance between genetic loci, or between genetic loci and morphology. Phylogeographic information provides a valuable context for studies of selection and adaptation. (4) Phylogeographic inferences are greatly enhanced by an understanding of the biology and ecology of study organisms. (5) Thorough, range-wide sampling of taxa is the foundation for robust phylogeographic inference. (6) Congruent geographic and taxonomic sampling by the Indo-Pacific community of scientists would facilitate better comparative analyses. The group concluded that at this stage of technology and software development, judicious rather than wholesale application of genomics appears to be the most robust course for marine phylogeographic studies. Therefore, our group intends to affirm the value of traditional ("unplugged") approaches, such as those based on mtDNA sequencing and microsatellites, along with essential field studies, in an era with increasing emphasis on genomic approaches. perspective OA Open access content FastTrack ➲ publication
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rapid expansion of human activities threatens ocean-wide biodiversity. Numerous marine animal populations have declined, yet it remains unclear whether these trends are symptomatic of a chronic accumulation of global marine extinction risk. We present the first systematic analysis of threat for a globally distributed lineage of 1,041 chondrichthyan fishes-sharks, rays, and chimaeras. We estimate that one-quarter are threatened according to IUCN Red List criteria due to overfishing (targeted and incidental). Large-bodied, shallow-water species are at greatest risk and five out of the seven most threatened families are rays. Overall chondrichthyan extinction risk is substantially higher than for most other vertebrates, and only one-third of species are considered safe. Population depletion has occurred throughout the world's ice-free waters, but is particularly prevalent in the Indo-Pacific Biodiversity Triangle and Mediterranean Sea. Improved management of fisheries and trade is urgently needed to avoid extinctions and promote population recovery. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00590.001.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cryptic species continue to be uncovered in many fish taxa, posing challenges for fisheries conservation and management. In Sardinella gibbosa, previous investigations revealed subtle intra-species variations, resulting in numerous synonyms and a controversial taxonomy for this sardine. Here, we tested for cryptic diversity within S. gibbosa using genetic data from two mitochondrial and one nuclear gene regions of 248 individuals of S. gibbosa, collected from eight locations across the Philippine archipelago. Deep genetic divergence and subsequent clustering was consistent across both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Clade distribution is geographically limited: Clade 1 is widely distributed in the central Philippines, while Clade 2 is limited to the northernmost sampling site. In addition, morphometric analyses revealed a unique head shape that characterized each genetic clade. Hence, both genetic and morphological evidence strongly suggests a hidden diversity within this common and commercially-important sardine.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e84719. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Coral Triangle is a hotspot for marine species diversity as well as for intraspecific genetic diversity. Here, we used nuclear RAG2 and mitochondrial D-Loop genes to identify deep genetic divergence among Dascyllus aruanus (Linnaeus, 1758) populations across relatively short scales within the Coral Triangle. Mitochondrial clades different by >20 mutational steps were completely isolated from one another across the distance between Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands, and also showed frequency differences in the eastern and western Philippines. Evidence for population structure in the Sulu Sea and at the Lesser Sunda Islands was also identified. Our results suggest that the Sulu Sea Throughflow, Bohol Sea Throughflow, Indonesian Throughflow, signatures of extinction events from Pleistocene land barriers, and other past and present forces may be potential factors leading to lineage divergence of D. aruanus, and that these hypotheses should be tested in further studies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cultured pearl farms are located in areas of the Pacific that have thriving, highly diverse fish communities but the impacts of farming on these communities are poorly understood. We studied the effects of pearl oyster farming on shore fish abundance and diversity in the lagoon of Ahe, French Polynesia by adapting roving diver census methods to the coral reef bommies of the lagoon and compared 16 sites with high pearl farming impact to others with no direct impact. Pearl farming has a slightly positive effect on reef fish abundance (N) and no significant impact on fish diversity (H) or community composition. This is important when considering the ecological sustainability of pearl farming in French Polynesia and suggests that a potential synergy between pearl farms and marine conservation should be further explored.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Range-wide morphometric variability (cranial measurements) and genetic variability (nucleotide sequences of the cytochrome b gene) were investigated in the longface emperor, Lethrinus olivaceus (Lethrinidae), an emblematic large predatory fish of Indo-West Pacific coral reefs. Two cranial morphotypes were observed, one present from the Indian Ocean to the Coral Triangle and the other one, from the Coral Triangle to the western Central Pacific. The two morphotypes are concordant with reciprocally monophyletic mitochondrial lineages separated by 9.5% net nucleotide distance. These results suggest an old evolutionary history for L. olivaceus, which consists of two distinct species (Lethrinus sp. A in the Indian Ocean and Coral Triangle, Lethrinus sp. B in the western Pacific Ocean), whose distribution ranges meet or overlap in the eastern part of the Coral Triangle, in Taiwan and in West Papua. Lethrinus sp. A comprises two distinct mitochondrial lineages separated by 1.7% net nucleotide distance, one exclusive to the populations from the Indian Ocean, the other exclusive to Coral Triangle populations. The latter observation might be explained by vicariance, whereby the two lineages have been isolated from one another on either side of the Sunda Shelf because of low sea level in the Pleistocene. To clarify the nomenclature of this species complex, we recommend sequencing a fragment of the cytochrome b gene of the holotypes of L. olivaceus and of its first junior synonyms L. rostratus and L. waigiensis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Groupers are a valuable fishery resource of reef ecosystems and are among those
species most vulnerable to fishing pressure because of life history characteristics
including longevity, late sexual maturation and aggregation spawning. Despite their
economic importance, few grouper fisheries are regularly monitored or managed at
the species level, and many are reported to be undergoing declines. To identify major
threats to groupers, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red
List criteria were applied to all 163 species. Red List assessments show that 20 species
(12%) risk extinction if current trends continue, and an additional 22 species (13%)
are considered to be Near Threatened. The Caribbean Sea, coastal Brazil and
Southeast Asia contain a disproportionate number of Threatened species, while
numerous poorly documented and Near Threatened species occur in many regions.
In all, 30% of all species are considered to be Data Deficient. Given that the major
threat is overfishing, accompanied by a general absence and/or poor application of
fishery management, the prognosis for restoration and successful conservation of
Threatened species is poor. We believe that few refuges remain for recovery and that
key biological processes (e.g. spawning aggregations) continue to be compromised by
uncontrolled fishing. Mariculture, through hatchery-rearing, increases production of
a few species and contributes to satisfying high market demand, but many such
operations depend heavily on wild-caught juveniles with resultant growth and
recruitment overfishing. Better management of fishing and other conservation efforts
are urgently needed, and we provide examples of possible actions and constraints.
Fish and Fisheries 02/2013; 14:119-136. · 5.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Range overlap patterns were observed in a dataset of 10,446 expert-derived marine species distribution maps, including 8,295 coastal fishes, 1,212 invertebrates (crustaceans and molluscs), 820 reef-building corals, 50 seagrasses, and 69 mangroves. Distributions of tropical Indo-Pacific shore fishes revealed a concentration of species richness in the northern apex and central region of the Coral Triangle epicenter of marine biodiversity. This pattern was supported by distributions of invertebrates and habitat-forming primary producers. Habitat availability, heterogeneity, and sea surface temperatures were highly correlated with species richness across spatial grains ranging from 23,000 to 5,100,000 km with and without correction for autocorrelation. The consistent retention of habitat variables in our predictive models supports the area of refuge hypothesis which posits reduced extinction rates in the Coral Triangle. This does not preclude support for a center of origin hypothesis that suggests increased speciation in the region may contribute to species richness. In addition, consistent retention of sea surface temperatures in models suggests that available kinetic energy may also be an important factor in shaping patterns of marine species richness. Kinetic energy may hasten rates of both extinction and speciation. The position of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool to the east of the Coral Triangle in central Oceania and a pattern of increasing species richness from this region into the central and northern parts of the Coral Triangle suggests peripheral speciation with enhanced survival in the cooler parts of the Coral Triangle that also have highly concentrated available habitat. These results indicate that conservation of habitat availability and heterogeneity is important to reduce extinction of marine species and that changes in sea surface temperatures may influence the evolutionary potential of the region.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e56245. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Marine molluscs represent an estimated 23% of all extant marine taxa, but research into their conservation status has so far failed to reflect this importance, with minimal inclusion on the authoritative Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). We assessed the status of all 632 valid species of the tropical marine gastropod mollusc, Conus (cone snails), using Red List standards and procedures to lay the groundwork for future decadal monitoring, one of the first fully comprehensive global assessments of a marine taxon. Three-quarters (75.6%) of species were not currently considered at risk of extinction owing to their wide distribution and perceived abundance. However, 6.5% were considered threatened with extinction with a further 4.1% near threatened. Data deficiency prevented 13.8% of species from being categorised although they also possess characteristics that signal concern. Where hotspots of endemism occur, most notably in the Eastern Atlantic, 42.9% of the 98 species from that biogeographical region were classified as threatened or near threatened with extinction. All 14 species included in the highest categories of Critically Endangered and Endangered are endemic to either Cape Verde or Senegal, with each of the three Critically Endangered species restricted to single islands in Cape Verde. Threats to all these species are driven by habitat loss and anthropogenic disturbance, in particular from urban pollution, tourism and coastal development. Our findings show that levels of extinction risk to which cone snails are exposed are of a similar magnitude to those seen in many fully assessed terrestrial taxa. The widely held view that marine species are less at risk is not upheld.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e83353. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parrotfishes and surgeonfishes perform important functional roles in the dynamics of coral reef systems. This is a consequence of their varied feeding behaviors ranging from targeted consumption of living plant material (primarily surgeonfishes) to feeding on detrital aggregates that are either scraped from the reef surface or excavated from the deeper reef substratum (primarily parrotfishes). Increased fishing pressure and widespread habitat destruction have led to population declines for several species of these two groups. Species-specific data on global distribution, population status, life history characteristics, and major threats were compiled for each of the 179 known species of parrotfishes and surgeonfishes to determine the likelihood of extinction of each species under the Categories and Criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Due in part to the extensive distributions of most species and the life history traits exhibited in these two families, only three (1.7%) of the species are listed at an elevated risk of global extinction. The majority of the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes (86%) are listed as Least Concern, 10% are listed as Data Deficient and 1% are listed as Near Threatened. The risk of localized extinction, however, is higher in some areas, particularly in the Coral Triangle region. The relatively low proportion of species globally listed in threatened Categories is highly encouraging, and some conservation successes are attributed to concentrated conservation efforts. However, with the growing realization of man's profound impact on the planet, conservation actions such as improved marine reserve networks, more stringent fishing regulations, and continued monitoring of the population status at the species and community levels are imperative for the prevention of species loss in these groups of important and iconic coral reef fishes.
PLoS ONE 06/2012; 7(7):e39825. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rate of change in DNA is an important parameter for understanding molecular evolution and hence for inferences drawn from studies of phylogeography and phylogenetics. Most rate calibrations for mitochondrial coding regions in marine species have been made from divergence dating for fossils and vicariant events older than 1-2 My and are typically 0.5-2% per lineage per million years. Recently, calibrations made with ancient DNA (aDNA) from younger dates have yielded faster rates, suggesting that estimates of the molecular rate of change depend on the time of calibration, decaying from the instantaneous mutation rate to the phylogenetic substitution rate. aDNA methods for recent calibrations are not available for most marine taxa so instead we use radiometric dates for sea-level rise onto the Sunda Shelf following the Last Glacial Maximum (starting ∼18,000 years ago), which led to massive population expansions for marine species. Instead of divergence dating, we use a two-epoch coalescent model of logistic population growth preceded by a constant population size to infer a time in mutational units for the beginning of these expansion events. This model compares favorably to simpler coalescent models of constant population size, and exponential or logistic growth, and is far more precise than estimates from the mismatch distribution. Mean rates estimated with this method for mitochondrial coding genes in three invertebrate species are elevated in comparison to older calibration points (2.3-6.6% per lineage per million years), lending additional support to the hypothesis of calibration time dependency for molecular rates.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 09/2011; 29(2):707-19. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We infer a phylogeny of haemulid genera using mitochondrial COI and Cyt b genes and nuclear RAG1, SH3PX3, and Plagl2 genes from 56 haemulid species representing 18 genera of the expanded haemulids (including the former inermiids) and ten outgroup species. Results from maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analyses show strong support for a monophyletic Haemulidae with the inclusion of Emmelichthyops atlanticus. The former inermiids did not form a clade indicating that the highly protrusible upper jaw specialization to planktivory evolved more than once within Haemulidae. The subfamilies Haemulinae and Plectorhinchinae, currently diagnosed by eight morphological characters, most notably the number of chin pores and the origin of the retractor dorsalis, are also recovered from these analyses with the Haemulinae sister to the Plectorhinchinae. Plectorhinchus is monophyletic only with the inclusion of Diagramma. Within the Haemulinae, Pomadasys and Conodon are polyphyletic. In addition, Anisotremus is monophyletic only with the inclusion of Genyatremus and Conodon nobilis, and Haemulon is monophyletic only with the inclusion of Xenistius. These results suggest that further morphological and molecular studies are needed to revise the limits of several haemulid genera.