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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 428:245-258 (2011)  -  DOI:

Escaping paradise: larval export from Hawaii in an Indo-Pacific reef fish, the yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens

Jeff A. Eble1,2,5,*, Robert J. Toonen1, Laurie Sorenson3, Larry V. Basch4, Yannis P. Papastamatiou1,6, Brian W. Bowen1

1Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, School of Oceanography and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai’i, Kaneohe, Hawai’i 96744 USA
2Department of Zoology, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822 USA
3Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062 USA
4Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Program, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822 USA
5Present address: Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA
6Present address: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA

ABSTRACT: The depauperate marine ecosystems of the Hawaiian Archipelago share a high proportion of species with the southern and western Pacific, indicating historical and/or ongoing connections across the large oceanic expanse separating Hawaii from its nearest neighbors. The rate and direction of these interactions are, however, unknown. While previous biogeographic studies have consistently described Hawaii as a diversity sink, prevailing currents likely offer opportunities for ­larval export. To assess interactions between the remote reefs of the Hawaiian Archipelago and the species-rich communities of the Central and West Pacific, we surveyed 14 nuclear microsatellite loci (nDNA, n = 857) and a 614 bp segment of mitochondrial cytochrome b (mtDNA, n = 654) in the yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens. Concordant frequency shifts in both nDNA and mtDNA reveal significant population differentiation among 3 West Pacific sites and Hawaii (nDNA FCT = 0.116; mtDNA φCT = 0.098, p < 0.001). SAMOVA analyses of microsatellite data additionally indicate fine scale differentiation within the 2600 km Hawaiian Archipelago (FSC = 0.026, p < 0.001), which has implications for management of this heavily-exploited aquarium fish. Mismatch analyses indicate the oldest contemporary populations are in the Hawaiian Archipelago (ca. 318000 yr) with younger populations in the West Pacific (91000 to 175000 yr). Estimates of yellow tang historical demography contradict expectations of Hawaii as a population sink and instead indicate asymmetrical gene flow, with Hawaii exporting rather than importing yellow tang larvae.

KEY WORDS: Acanthuridae · Larval dispersal · Larval retention · Marine connectivity · ­Phylogeography · Stock assessment

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Cite this article as: Eble JA, Toonen RJ, Sorenson L, Basch LV, Papastamatiou YP, Bowen BW (2011) Escaping paradise: larval export from Hawaii in an Indo-Pacific reef fish, the yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 428:245-258.

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