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Comparative phylogeography in Fijian coral reef fishes: a multi-taxa approach towards marine reserve design.

  • Author(s): Drew, Joshua A
  • Barber, Paul H
  • et al.
Abstract

Delineating barriers to connectivity is important in marine reserve design as they describe the strength and number of connections among a reserve's constituent parts, and ultimately help characterize the resilience of the system to perturbations at each node. Here we demonstrate the utility of multi-taxa phylogeography in the design of a system of marine protected areas within Fiji. Gathering mtDNA control region data from five species of coral reef fish in five genera and two families, we find a range of population structure patterns, from those experiencing little (Chrysiptera talboti, Halichoeres hortulanus, and Pomacentrus maafu), to moderate (Amphiprion barberi, Φ(st) = 0.14 and Amblyglyphidodon orbicularis Φ(st) = 0.05) barriers to dispersal. Furthermore estimates of gene flow over ecological time scales suggest species-specific, asymmetric migration among the regions within Fiji. The diversity among species-specific results underscores the limitations of generalizing from single-taxon studies, including the inability to differentiate between a species-specific result and a replication of concordant phylogeographic patterns, and suggests that greater taxonomic coverage results in greater resolution of community dynamics within Fiji. Our results indicate that the Fijian reefs should not be managed as a single unit, and that closely related species can express dramatically different levels of population connectivity.

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