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

Lessios, Harilaos LESSIOSH at si.edu
Wed Oct 12 15:55:36 EDT 2016

As Mike brought up previous work of mine, I might as well put my two cents worth into this discussion.   Some points to remember:

1.  Direction of invasion is not necessarily the same as direction of subsequent gene flow.
2.  Genera that include transpacific species are a small minority.  In the majority, eastern and central Pacific contain different species.
3.  When a species is absent from a region, we do not know whether it is because it cannot get there, or because it is excluded for ecological reasons.. For example, there are a number of central Pacific species (including Acanthaster) in the Gulf of Chiriqui that never get into the Bay of Panama.  Acanthurus triostegus and Zanclus cornutus are even found on Isla Gorgona on the western end of the Bay of Panama, but they never make it in the Perlas Archipelago only a few tens of km away.
4. One ENSO event is very different from another, whereas genetics are the result of processes that span thousands of generations.

When all these points are taken into account, any generalization about regional faunas made on the basis of what a few species do, or what one ENSO has done, becomes tenuous.

H.A. Lessios
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Balboa, Panama
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-
> bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Michael Hellberg
> Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:11 PM
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Response to Dennis Hubbard, Hector Reyes Bonilla, and
> Curt Storlazzi:
> 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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