[Coral-List] Cryptic Species/Introgression Paper

Jason Thomas Ladner jtladner at stanford.edu
Thu Apr 19 15:28:22 EDT 2012

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to bring your attention to a recent paper we have
published in Molecular Ecology, which may be of interest to many on
this list. In the paper, we utilize multi-locus genetic data to
explore patterns of introgression throughout the large geographic
distributions of many cryptic species within the Acropora cytherea and
A. hyacinthus morphospecies.

Extensive sympatry, cryptic diversity and introgression throughout the
geographic distribution of two coral species complexes


If your institution does not have access, please send me an email and
I would be happy to send you a pdf.


   The identification of species is one of the most basic, and yet
critically important, issues in biology with far-reaching potential
implications for fields such as biodiversity conservation, population
ecology and epidemiology. Morphology has long been the primary tool
biologists have used to categorize life. However, we now know that a
significant portion of natural diversity is morphologically hidden,
and therefore, we must integrate nonmorphological tools into the
description of biodiversity. Here, we demonstrate the utility of
multilocus population genetic data for identifying and characterizing
cryptic species complexes, even when species share large amounts of
genetic variability. Specifically, we have used DNA sequence data from
12 genomic regions to characterize two widespread species complexes in
the coral genus Acropora: A. cytherea and A. hyacinthus. These two
morphospecies have each been sampled from 5 to 7 locations throughout
their Indo-Pacific distributions, and with the use of structure and
hierarchical clustering, we demonstrate the presence of at least six
widespread cryptic species within these two morphospecies complexes.
After identifying cryptic lineages, we then utilize the genetic data
to examine the history of introgressive hybridization within and
between these morphospecies complexes. Our data indicate that these
two complexes form a global syngameon with consistent patterns of
introgression between species across large geographic distributions.

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