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Trends Ecol Evol. 1987 Jul;2(7):187-91. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(87)90018-8.

Mid-ocean isolation and the evolution of Hawaiian reef fishes.

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  • 1Thomas Hourigan and Ernst Reese are at the Dept of Zoology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA.


The Hawaiian fish fauna has close affinities with the fauna of the Indo-west Pacific from which it is derived, but is depauperate. It is characterized by a large number of endemic species (30% of inshore fishes), which are often the most abundant species in their families in Hawaii. Although there is evidence of local adaptation, there has been no radiation of species within the island chain, as occurs in the terrestrial biota of isolated islands. Three major factors have contributed to these trends: (1) the geographic isolation of the islands, and oceanographic features, especially current patterns; (2) the life history characteristics of the fishes, especially their dispersal capabilities; and (3) the extent of adaptive differentiation to environmental conditions after they reached Hawaii.

Copyright © 1987. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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