Harilaos Lessios

Harilaos Lessios
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Ph D

About

141
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (141)
Article
Full-text available
We reconstructed the mitochondrial phylogeny of the species of the brittle star genus Ophioderma, using sequences of the Cytochrome Oxidase I gene (COI) to address four questions: (i) Are the species of Ophioderma described on morphological evidence reflected in mitochondrial genealogy? (ii) Which species separated from which? (iii) When did specia...
Article
Full-text available
The sea urchins Echinothrix calamaris and Echinothrix diadema have sympatric distributions throughout the Indo-Pacific. Diverse colour variation is reported in both species. To reconstruct the phylogeny of the genus and assess gene flow across the Indo-Pacific we sequenced mitochondrial 16S rDNA, ATPase-6, and ATPase-8, and nuclear 28S rDNA and the...
Article
Relationships between animals and their associated microbiota are dependent on both the evolutionary history of the host and on the environment. The majority of studies tend to focus on either one of these factors but rarely consider how both determine the community composition of the associated microbiota. One ‘natural experiment’ to test how evol...
Article
Full-text available
Relationships between animals and their associated microbiota are dependent on both the evolutionary history of the host and on the environment. The majority of studies tend to focus on either one of these factors and rarely consider how both determine the community composition of the associated microbiota. One “natural experiment” to test how evol...
Article
Full-text available
Bindin is a sperm protein that mediates attachment and membrane fusion of gametes. The mode of bindin evolution varies across sea urchin genera studied to date. In three genera it evolves under positive selection, in four under mostly purifying selection, and in one, results have been mixed. We studied bindin evolution in the pantropical sea urchin...
Article
Surveys of larval diversity consistently increase biodiversity estimates when applied to poorly documented groups of marine invertebrates such as phoronids and hemichordates. However, it remains to be seen how helpful this approach is for detecting unsampled species in well‐studied groups. Echinoids represent a large, robust, well‐studied macrofaun...
Preprint
Relationships between animals and their associated microbiota is dependent on the evolutionary history of the host and on the environment. The majority of studies tend to focus on one of these factors and rarely consider how both determine the community composition of the associated bacteria. One natural experiment to test how evolutionary history,...
Article
The evolution of marine neotropical shallow water species is expected to have been greatly affected by physical events related to the emergence of the Central American Isthmus. The anomuran crab Megalobrachium, a strictly neotropical porcellanid genus, consists of four species in the West Atlantic (WA) and nine in the East Pacific (EP). Dispersal i...
Article
Full-text available
The significance of symbioses between eukaryotic hosts and microbes extends from the organismal to the ecosystem level and underpins the health of Earth’s most threatened marine ecosystems. Despite rapid growth in research on host-associated microbes, from individual microbial symbionts to host-associated consortia of significantly relevant taxa, l...
Article
Full-text available
We provide preliminary insights into the global phylogeographic and evolutionary patterns across species of the hydrozoan superfamily Plumularioidea (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa). We analyzed 1,114 16S sequences of 198 putative species of Plumularioidea collected worldwide. We investigated genetic connections and divergence in relation to present‐day and an...
Preprint
Full-text available
The significance of mutualisms between eukaryotic hosts and microbes extends from the organismal to the ecosystem level, and mutualistic symbioses underpin the health of Earth’s most threatened marine ecosystems. Despite rapid growth in research on host-associated microbes (microbiomes), very little is known about their interactions for the vast ma...
Preprint
Full-text available
The significance of mutualisms between eukaryotic hosts and microbes extends from the organismal to the ecosystem level, and mutualistic symbioses underpin the health of Earth’s most threatened marine ecosystems. Despite rapid growth in research on host-associated microbes (microbiomes), very little is known about their interactions for the vast ma...
Article
Full-text available
Aim To test hypothesized biogeographic partitions of the tropical Indo‐Pacific Ocean with phylogeographic data from 56 taxa, and to evaluate the strength and nature of barriers emerging from this test. Location The Indo‐Pacific Ocean. Time period Pliocene through the Holocene. Major taxa studied Fifty‐six marine species. Methods We tested eight...
Article
Full-text available
Marine hydroids are important benthic components of shallow and deep waters worldwide, but their taxonomy is controversial because diagnostic morphological characters to categorize taxa are limited. Their genetic relationships are also little investigated. We tested taxonomic hypotheses within the highly speciose superfamily Plumularioidea by integ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Echinoidea is a clade of marine animals including sea urchins, heart urchins, sand dollars and sea biscuits. Found in benthic habitats across all latitudes, echinoids are key components of marine communities such as coral reefs and kelp forests. A little over 1000 species inhabit the oceans today, a diversity that traces its roots back...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Echinoidea is a clade of marine animals including sea urchins, heart urchins, sand dollars and sea biscuits. Found in benthic habitats across all latitudes, echinoids are key components of marine communities such as coral reefs and kelp forests. A little over 1,000 species inhabit the oceans today, a diversity that traces its roots back...
Article
Full-text available
Rising ocean temperatures associated with global climate change induce breakdown of the symbiosis between coelenterates and photosynthetic microalgae of the genus Symbiodinium. Association with more thermotolerant partners could contribute to resilience, but the genetic mechanisms controlling specificity of hosts for particular Symbiodinium types a...
Article
Full-text available
Evolution and population genetic structure of marine species across the Caribbean Sea are shaped by two complex factors: the geological history and the present pattern of marine currents. Characterizing and comparing the genetic structures of codistributed species, such as host–parasite associations, allow discriminating the relative importance of...
Article
Full-text available
Vicariant events have been widely used to calibrate rates of molecular evolution, the completion of the Central American Isthmus more extensively than any other. Recent studies have claimed that rather than the generally accepted date of ~3 million years ago (Ma), the Isthmus was effectively complete by the middle Miocene, 13 Ma. We present a fossi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mellitid sand dollars of the genera Encope, Leodia, Mellita, Mellitella and Lanthonia are members of the sandy shallow-water fauna in tropical and subtropical regions on the two coasts of the Americas. To reconstruct their phylogeography we sequenced both mitochondrial and nuclear genes from all described species in each genus. Based on present day...
Article
Full-text available
Theoretically, species with high population structure are likely to expand their range, because marginal populations are free to adapt to local conditions; however, meta-analyses have found a negative relation between structure and invasiveness. The crab Petrolisthes armatus has a wide native range, which has expanded in the last three decades. We...
Chapter
Gene flow can provide cohesion between conspecific populations. In order to obtain an indirect measure of gene flow between coral reef species in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) and between these populations and those of the rest of the Pacific we compiled available data from sequences of DNA and microsatellites for corals, gastropods, echinoder...
Article
Full-text available
The formation of the Isthmus of Panama stands as one of the greatest natural events of the Cenozoic, driving profound biotic transformations on land and in the oceans. Some recent studies suggest that the Isthmus formed many millions of years earlier than the widely recognized age of approximately 3 million years ago (Ma), a result that if true wou...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation of large predators has long been a challenge for biologists due to the limited information we have about their ecology, generally low numbers in the wild, large home ranges and the continuous expansion of human settlements. The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a typical apex predator, that has suffered from all of these charac...
Data
Trajectories, movement distances, and speed of the American crocodile by size class. Number of path trajectories (N), time average between locations (TAG), average movement distance (AMD), and average movement speed (AMS) followed by American crocodiles in Coiba Island per size class. (DOCX)
Data
Conspecific proximity among American crocodiles by size class. Number of observations, percent of geolocations closer than 200 m, and average conspecific proximity (ACP) within a time overlapping of 6 h estimated for 24 American crocodiles followed in Coiba Island from 2010 to 2013 divided by size class. (DOCX)
Data
Home range and utilization distribution. Utilization distribution per size classes using Kernel Density Estimation (KDE). (TIF)
Data
Home range and utilization distribution of the American crocodiles by size class. Home range and utilization distribution of the American crocodiles on Coiba Island estimated via Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP), Kernel Density Estimation (KDE), and Local Convex Hull—adaptive (aLoCoH). These values were estimated based on the average by individual + SD...
Article
In their PNAS article “Biological evidence supports an early and complex emergence of the Isthmus of Panama,” Bacon et al. (1) use data from molecular comparisons of terrestrial and marine organisms taken from the literature to estimate dates of rate shifts in migration. One of their conclusions is that “events separating marine organisms in the At...
Article
Life history characteristics play a pervasive role in the ecology and evolution of species. Transitions between feeding and non-feeding larval development have occurred many times in both terrestrial and marine phyla, however we lack a comprehensive understanding of how such shifts occur. The sea biscuits Clypeaster rosaceus and Clypeaster subdepre...
Article
In 1983-1984, the sea urchin Diadema antillarum suffered mass mortality throughout the Caribbean, Florida, and Bermuda. The demise of this herbivore contributed to a phase shift of Caribbean reefs from coral-dominated to alga-dominated communities. A compilation of published data of D. antillarum population densities shows that there has been moder...
Article
Full-text available
We assessed the reproductive ecology of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) on Coiba Island, Panama from January–December 2013. We examined nest site characteristics from January–April and hatchling survivorship from April–December. Ten nests were examined at three nesting localities where 30% of the nests were found under forest canopies an...
Article
Full-text available
Many free-spawning marine invertebrates, such as sea urchins, lack any courtship or assortative mating behavior. Mate recognition in such cases occur at the gametic level, and molecules present on the sperm and egg are major determinants of species-specific fertilization. These molecules must also coevolve in relation to each other in order to pres...
Article
Eight microsatellite loci were characterized for Meoma ventricosa (Lamarck, 1816), a burrowing sea urchin that can be afflicted by a bacterial disease causing localized mass mortality. For the analyzed population (29 individuals from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands), we observed 8.125 mean number of alleles, 0.640 mean observed heterozygosity (H o) an...
Article
Full-text available
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 fir...
Article
Full-text available
AimThe goatfish genus Mulloidichthys is abundant on reefs throughout the tropics. Characteristic of this genus is a long larval and pelagic juvenile phase, which could potentially confer large dispersal capacity. We sampled its mitochondrial DNA to answer the following questions: What speciation events have led to the formation of the extant specie...
Article
Full-text available
Sand dollars of the genus Mellita are members of the sandy shallow-water fauna. The genus ranges in tropical and subtropical regions on the two coasts of the Americas. To reconstruct the phylogeography of the genus we sequenced parts of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and of 16S rRNA as well as of the nuclear 28S rRNA genes from a total of 1...
Article
Land is not the only barrier to dispersal encountered by marine organisms. For sedentary shallow water species, there is an additional, marine barrier, 5000 km of uninterrupted deep-water stretch between the central and the eastern Pacific. This expanse of water, known as the ‘Eastern Pacific Barrier’, has been separating faunas of the two oceanic...
Article
Marine species with high dispersal potential often have huge ranges and minimal population structure. Combined with the paucity of geographic barriers in the oceans, this pattern raises the question as to how speciation occurs in the sea. Over the past 20 years, evidence has accumulated that marine speciation is often linked to the evolution of gam...
Article
Marine species with high dispersal potential often have huge ranges and minimal population structure. Combined with the paucity of geographic barriers in the oceans, this pattern raises the question as to how speciation occurs in the sea. Over the past 20 years, evidence has accumulated that marine speciation is often linked to the evolution of gam...
Article
Among shallow water sea urchin genera, Arbacia is the only genus that contains species found in both high and low latitudes. In order to determine the geographical origin of the genus and its history of speciation events, we constructed phylogenies based on cytochrome oxidase I and sperm bindin from all its species. Both the mitochondrial and the n...
Article
Full-text available
Research on speciation of marine organisms has lagged behind that of terrestrial ones, but the study of the evolution of molecules involved in the adhesion of gametes in free-spawning invertebrates is an exception. Here I review the function, species-specificity, and molecular variation of loci coding for bindin in sea urchins, lysin in abalone and...
Article
With over 150 described species, Astropecten Gray (Paxillosida: Astropectinidae) is one of the most species-rich genera among sea stars. This diversity is remarkable, because most species of Astropecten have a long-lived planktotrophic larval stage, which would be expected to lead to a low speciation rate. The taxonomy of this genus is complex and...
Article
Some species of sea urchins feature large variation in pigmentation. This variability may be the result of phenotypic plasticity or it may be associated with genetic divergence between morphs. Paracentrotus gaimardi exhibits five colour morphs (pink, brown, green, grey and black), which often occur side by side on the same rock. We studied genetic...
Chapter
Full-text available
Data relevant to processes that give rise to new species of echinoids are reviewed. Phylogeographic information from mitochondrial DNA is used to ask whether speciation in sea urchins fits the allopatric model, which predicts that if reproductive isolation accumulates steadily with time, then young, closely related species would tend to occur on tw...
Article
Information on genetic connectivity and structure of populations in the tropical Pacific is critical for making inferences about the origins and maintenance of diversity in this region. Sequences of the mitochondrial COI gene from 92 individuals of the trans-Pacific gastropod Conus ebraeus from eight localities spanning the tropical Pacific were an...
Article
Full-text available
Bindin, a protein involved in sea urchin sperm-egg recognition and adhesion, is under positive selection in genera with sympatric species but evolves neutrally in genera in which all species are allopatric. This pattern has led to suggestions that reinforcement may be the source of the observed selection. Reproductive character displacement, or inc...
Article
Full-text available
Invasions mediated by humans have been reported from around the world, and ships’ ballast water has been recognized as the main source of marine invaders worldwide. Some invasions have dramatic economic and ecological consequences. On the other hand, many invasions especially in the marine realm, can go unnoticed. Here we identify a human mediated,...
Article
Full-text available
Bindin is a sea urchin gamete-recognition protein that plays an essential role in the specificity of egg-sperm interactions and thus may be evolving under sexual selection and be related to speciation. Bindin has been found to evolve under strong selection in some sea urchin genera and neutrally in others. In this study, we characterized bindin in...
Article
Full-text available
The intertidal isopod Excirolana braziliensis Richardson possesses limited means of dispersal; there is no larval stage, and adults remain sedentary under the sand. It is represented on the two coasts of Panama by three morphs, two in the Pacifi c (P and C) and one in the Atlantic (C). Previous work has quantifi ed morphometric differences between...
Article
Full-text available
After a 12-million-year (My) process, the Central American Isthmus was completed 2.8 My ago. Its emergence affected current flow, salinity, temper-ature, and primary productivity of the Pacific and the Atlantic and launched marine organisms of the two oceans into independent evolutionary trajec-tories. Those that did not go extinct have diverged. A...
Article
Full-text available
Larvae of marine invertebrates either arise from small eggs and feed during their development or arise from large eggs that proceed to metamorphosis sustained only from maternal provisioning. Only a few species are known to possess facultatively feeding larvae. Of about 250 echinoid species with known mode of development, only two, Brisaster latifr...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of ever-increasing threats to coral reef ecosystems, it is essential to understand the impact of natural predators in order to devise appropriate management strategies. Destructive population explosions of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci have devastated coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific for decades. But despite ext...
Article
Full-text available
The high biodiversity of tropical marine hotspots has long intrigued evolutionary biologists and biogeographers. The genus Haemulon (grunts) is one of the most important (numerically, ecologically, and economically) reef fish groups in the New World and an excellent candidate to test hypotheses of speciation and diversity generation in the Greater...
Article
Full-text available
Existing knowledge on reproductive isolating barriers between sea urchin species is reviewed. Experiments involving artificial production of hybrids between congeneric echinoid species have shown that in most cases hybrids are viable and capable of backcrossing. Only species separated for > 5 million yrs show complete post-zygotic isolation. Each p...
Article
A latitudinal gradient in biodiversity has existed since before the time of the dinosaurs, yet how and why this gradient arose remains unresolved. Here we review two major hypotheses for the origin of the latitudinal diversity gradient. The time and area hypothesis holds that tropical climates are older and historically larger, allowing more opport...
Article
Full-text available
Comparative phylogeographic studies often reveal disparate levels of sequence divergence between lineages spanning a common geographic barrier, leading to the conclusion that isolation was nonsynchronous. However, only rarely do researchers account for the expected variance associated with ancestral coalescence and among-taxon variation in demograp...
Article
Full-text available
The 'impassable' Eastern Pacific Barrier (EPB), ca 5000 km of deep water separating the eastern from the central Pacific, is the World's widest marine biogeographic barrier. Sequencing of mitochondrial DNA in 20 reef fish morphospecies encountered on both sides of the barrier revealed cryptic speciation in two. Among the other 18 species only two s...