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Genetica. 2008 Mar;132(3):243-54. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Genetic variation and population structuring in two brooding coral species (Siderastrea stellata and Siderastrea radians) from Brazil.

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  • 1Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Campus Ondina, Salvador, BA, Brazil. elizabeth.neves@gmail.com


Siderastrea stellata and S. radians are scleractinian coral species that present a remarkable overlap of diagnostic characteristics and sympatric distribution. Moreover, both are viviparous with similar reproductive strategies and with a gregarious larval behavior. Samples of both species from the Brazilian coast were analyzed using 18 isozymic loci to quantify their genetic variability and populational structure. Results confirmed species identity, high intrapopulational variability and revealed moderate genetic structuring among all samples (S. stellata: F (ST) = 0.070; S. radians: F (ST) = 0.092). Based on genotypic diversity analysis, there was evidence that local recruitment may have a minor role in the populations (mean, G ( o ):G ( e )= 1.00 +/- 0.0003 SD for S. stellata and 0.99 +/- 0.0023 SD for S. radians). Deviations towards heterozygote deficiencies found in both Siderastrea species could be explained by the Wahlund effect, since there was evidence that populations might be composed of colonies of different ages. In S. radians it is also likely that there is some inbreeding occurring in the studied populations. Despite the brooding pattern and the gregarious larval behavior, our data suggest the occurrence of gene flow along the Brazilian coast. This is the first study on population genetics of Brazilian reef corals.

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