Marine Biology

, 165:139 | Cite as

Comparative phylogeography of widespread and endemic damselfishes in the Hawaiian Archipelago

  • Kimberly A. TenggardjajaEmail author
  • Brian W. Bowen
  • Giacomo Bernardi
Original paper


The Hawaiian Archipelago, one of the most remote archipelagoes in the world, is a hotspot for reef fish endemism. The restricted biogeographic range sizes of endemic species have been interpreted to indicate low dispersal ability, whereas broad distributions of widespread species are assumed to indicate high dispersal potential. To assess that intuitive link, we analyzed mitochondrial cytochrome b and control region sequence data for two widespread damselfish species (Abudefduf vaigiensis and Chromis vanderbilti) across the Hawaiian Archipelago and broader Indo-Pacific and compared with three Hawaiian endemic damselfishes (A. abdominalis, C. ovalis, and C. verater). The widespread species exhibited less population structure in the Hawaiian Archipelago than the endemics. Across the larger spatial scale of their Indo-Pacific ranges, both widespread damselfish species showed strong and significant population structure. Our comparison of widespread and endemic damselfish species is consistent with the expected trend for widespread species to exhibit more connectivity within the Hawaiian Archipelago, but this pattern may be restricted to certain reef fish families. In addition, widespread species in this study and previous studies, which had little to no population subdivision within archipelagoes, have shown strong genetic structure when analyzed across the broader Indo-Pacific. We conclude that geographic range size may be a better indicator of dispersal ability at smaller (within archipelago) rather than at larger spatial scales (across oceans). Management should note that reef fishes unique to Hawaii seem to have less gene flow across the archipelago than more broadly distributed Indo-Pacific species.



For assistance with specimen collections, we thank Senifa Annandale, Richard Coleman, Joshua Copus, Joseph DiBattista, Joshua Drew, Michelle Gaither, Alexis Jackson, Shelley Jones, Corinne Kane, Stephen Karl, Beth Kimokeo, Randall Kosaki, Jason Leonard, Ken Longenecker, Gary Longo, Keolohilani Lopes, Yannis Papastamatiou, David Pence, Richard Pyle, Joshua Reece, Matt Ross, Mark Royer, Trisha Soares, Frank Stanton, Zoltan Szabo, Tonatiuh Trejo-Cantwell, Jackie Troller, Daniel Wagner, Rob Whitton, Chad Wiggins, Christie Wilcox, Yumi Yasutake, and the crew of the R. V. Hi’ialakai. We also thank the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Robert J. Toonen for logistic support; Ed DeMartini for valuable guidance and suggestions; Jimmy O’Donnell for time-saving R scripts; Lisa Chen, Millicent Lu, and Victor Gomez for their assistance in editing the haplotype networks; members of the Bernardi lab and the ToBo lab for intellectual input; and the staff of the DNA sequencing facility at the University of California, Berkeley, for their assistance with DNA sequencing. Thanks to Keoki Stender for donating photographs. Thanks to editor Oscar Puebla and two anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the manuscript. This study arose from fieldwork and lab work supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship, the Raney Fund for Ichthyology, the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research, Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research, the American Academy of Underwater Sciences Kathy Johnston Scholarship, the Lerner Gray Memorial Fund, the Myers Trust, and the Friends of the Long Marine Lab (Kimberly A. Tenggardjaja). In addition, this study was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant Nos. OCE-0453167 (Brian W. Bowen) and OCE-0929031 (Brian W. Bowen), NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Program MOA Grant No. 2005-008/66882 (Robert J. Toonen), and Hawai‘i Sea Grant No. NA05OAR4171048 (Brian W. Bowen).

Compliance with ethical standards

Human and animal rights statement

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the use of animals were followed. Collecting permits were provided by the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest pertaining to this study.

Supplementary material

227_2018_3395_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (641 kb)
Online Resource 1. Parsimony-based haplotype networks using cytochrome b sequence data and Hawaiian and Johnston Atoll sampling locations for: (a) A. vaigiensis, (b) A. abdominalis, (c) C. vanderbilti, (d) C. ovalis, and (e) C. verater. Each circle represents a haplotype and is proportional to the frequency of that haplotype. Length of branches is proportional to number of mutations. Networks are color-coded by sampling location and are not scaled relative to each other. Network for C. verater originally appeared in Tenggardjaja et al. (2014), and networks for A. abdominalis and C. ovalis originally appeared in Tenggardjaja et al. (2016) (PDF 641 kb)
227_2018_3395_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (908 kb)
Online Resource 2. Parsimony-based haplotype networks using control region sequence data and Hawaiian and Johnston Atoll sampling locations for: (a) A. vaigiensis, (b) A. abdominalis, (c) C. vanderbilti, (d) C. ovalis, and (e) C. verater. Each circle represents a haplotype and is proportional to the frequency of that haplotype. Length of branches is proportional to number of mutations. Networks are color-coded by sampling location and are not scaled relative to each other. Network for C. verater originally appeared in Tenggardjaja et al. (2014), and networks for A. abdominalis and C. ovalis originally appeared in Tenggardjaja et al. (2016)  (PDF 908 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Hawaii Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of HawaiiKaneoheUSA

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