Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 3, pp 593–603 | Cite as

Non-random mating and population genetic subdivision of two broadcasting corals at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Research Article


Allozyme electrophoresis of two corals was used to assess whether populations at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia are primarily self-seeding or whether recruitment is from a broader geographic pool. Significant genetic subdivision across a range of spatial scales (between 6.5 km and 155 km) was found for both Acropora digitifera and A. aspera, with mean F ST values of 0.010 and 0.067 respectively. Large departures from Hardy-Weinberg expectations were found for both species. Without exception these were due to deficits of heterozygotes; mean D values were −0.341 for A. digitifera and −0.455 for A. aspera. The magnitude of the deficits was consistent both across loci for all sites and across all sites for each locus. Some loci were found to be in linkage disequilibrium but no consistent pattern was observed. Also, multi-locus genotypic diversity values were generally high (between 0.83 and 1.00) and so departures from equilibria cannot be attributed to asexual reproduction. The most plausible explanation for the patterns observed is restricted gene flow at both the planktonic and gametic stages, with mating between close relatives.


Great Barrier Reef Coral Cover Asexual Reproduction Neap Tide Restricted Gene Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by the Department of Zoology, The University of Western Australia, Mobil Exploration and Producing, Woodside Petroleum, Exmouth Shire, the Conservation, Animal rescue, Research and Education group of Exmouth, and Kailis Fisheries. Thanks to many dive buddies, Conservation and Land Management and B. Lefroy for accommodation, L. Marsh for coral identification, M. Forde for the use of his map of Ningaloo, J. Stoddart for his BINOM program and R. Black for kindly modifying the program to run on a Macintosh. This paper benefited greatly from comments by my supervisor M. Johnson, and two anonymous referees. The collection of corals and the genetic analyses comply with the laws of Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia
  2. 2.School of Natural Resource SciencesQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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