Superclone Expansion, Long-Distance Clonal Dispersal and Local Genetic Structuring in the Coral Pocillopora damicornis Type β in Reunion Island, South Western Indian Ocean

Abstract : The scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis type β is known to present a mixed reproduction mode: through sexual reproduction, new genotypes are created, while asexual reproduction insures their propagation. In order to investigate the relative proportion of each reproduction mode in P. damicornis type β populations from Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, clonal propagation along the west coast was assessed through four sampling sites with increasing geographical distance between sites. Coral colonies were sampled either exhaustively, randomly or haphazardly within each site, and genotypic diversity was assessed using 13 microsatellite loci over a total of 510 P. damicornis type β determined a posteriori from their mtDNA haplotype (a 840 bp sequenced fragment of the Open Reading Frame). Overall, 47% of all the sampled colonies presented the same multi-locus genotype (MLG), a superclone, suggesting that asexual propagation is extremely important in Reunion Island. Within each site, numerous MLGs were shared by several colonies, suggesting local clonal propagation through fragmentation. Moreover, some of these MLGs were found to be shared among several sites located 40 km apart. While asexual reproduction by fragmentation seems unlikely over long distances, our results suggest a production of parthenogenetic larvae. Despite shared MLGs, two differentiated clusters were enclosed among populations of the west coast of Reunion Island, revealing the necessity to set up appropriate managing strategies at a local scale.
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Pauline Gélin, Cécile Fauvelot, Vincent Mehn, Sophie Bureau, Héloïse Rouzé, et al.. Superclone Expansion, Long-Distance Clonal Dispersal and Local Genetic Structuring in the Coral Pocillopora damicornis Type β in Reunion Island, South Western Indian Ocean. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (1), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0169692⟩. ⟨hal-01450078⟩

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