Nearby corals are closely related


One would not think of broadcast-spawning corals as homebodies, but this is precisely what a study by Australian scientist Jim Underwood has shown.

Underwood's study, published in a recent issue of the journal Evolutionary Applications, studied the genetic structure of the staghorn coral Acropora tenuis in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Timor Sea.

He found that individual corals located in the same group of reefs are more closely related than previously thought.

The results suggest that some corals are able to show a remarkable fidelity to their home range, despite their being broadcast spawners.

The author concluded that since most recruitment of these coral populations comes from other locally sourced coral, recovery of coral populations in these systems will not be facilitated by input of exogenous recruits.

For more information, see the paper: Underwood, JN (2009) Genetic diversity and divergence among coastal and offshore reefs in a hard coral depend on geographic discontinuity and oceanic currents. Evolutionary Applications 2, pp. 222"233.