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Insights from the Application of Genetics on Pocillopora-Symbiodinium Associations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

  • Jorge H. Pinzón C.Email author
Chapter
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 8)

Abstract

As one of the most widely distributed and most studied scleractinian genera in the world, Pocillopora encompasses an important group of corals. In the eastern tropical Pacific, Pocillopora species thrive and are the major reef-building scleractinian taxon, even though conditions are considered suboptimal for coral growth and reef development. Early observations on reproduction and species distributions appear to be complicated by high phenotypic diversity and often inaccurate species identifications. New genetic-based evidence reorganizes species classifications within Pocillopora by delimiting boundaries to genetic recombination. Such improvements toward a natural and accurate taxonomy have further revealed important patterns in Symbiodinium diversity and distribution associated with Pocillopora in the eastern Pacific. Here, I review work on genetic connectivity and symbiosis ecology that may explain physiological, ecological and evolutionary characteristics that account for the differential success of this coral genus in the marginal eastern tropical Pacific.

Keywords

Symbiosis Coevolution Coral-algae interactions Genetic connectivity Diversity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratitude to Todd C. LaJeunesse for the Symbiodinium data provided and help with the manuscript. Scott Santos and Dan Thornhill provided comments during the review process. Zac Forsman provided the photographs of Pocillopora from Hawai’i. Finally, Peter Glynn, Waleska Castro and Whitney Mann offered helpful comments on early versions of this chapter.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA

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