[Coral-List] Response to Dennis Hubbard, Hector Reyes Bonilla, and Curt Storlazzi:

Michael Hellberg mhellbe at lsu.edu
Wed Oct 12 12:45:28 EDT 2016

Thanks for pondering our work.  Our genetic data (Hellberg et al. 2016, J Biogeography), genetic results for several fish species (Lessios and Robertson 2006, Proc Royal Soc B,) and cone snails (Duda & Lessios 2009, Coral Reefs), and the recent biophysical work from Wood et al (2016, Nat Comm) all suggest that recent gene flow across the Eastern Pacific Barrier (if any) has been in the westward direction.  However, given that coral populations in the eastern Pacific went extinct about 2 My ago (per Dana 1975, Mar Biol as well as Cortes 1986, Ann Inst Cien Mar Limnol), the eastern tropical Pacific had to have been recolonized from somewhere to the west (i.e. in the eastward direction).  At present, the patterns of differentiation that have been resolved among central and western Pacific populations of Porites lobata using microsatellite markers (Baums et al. 2012, Mol Ecol) do not allow potential source populations to be pinpointed.  Genomic data may permit such ascertainment in the future, as well as provide a basis for inferring when intermittent bouts of gene flow in either direction occurred.

Hellberg and Baums

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