Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 7, pp 1475–1487 | Cite as

Genetic connectivity and historical demography of the blue barred parrotfish (Scarus ghobban) in the western Indian Ocean

  • Shakil VisramEmail author
  • Ming-Che Yang
  • Ruby Moothien Pillay
  • Sadri Said
  • Oskar Henriksson
  • Mats Grahn
  • Chaolun Allen Chen
Original Paper


Studies on genetic connectivity are essential for the design of management strategies for coral reef fisheries. In this study we used a mitochondrial DNA marker to investigate population structure of the reef-associated parrotfish, Scarus ghobban, from four countries, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania, in the western Indian Ocean. We obtained nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial control region for 117 individuals. Measures of haplotype diversity were relatively high. Pairwise population differentiation (F ST) was low, but not always non-significant. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed genetic differentiation between groups, when the data was partitioned into two groups consisting of samples from Mauritius and Tanzania in one group, and samples from Kenya and Seychelles in another group. Direction of gene flow was estimated using a Bayesian approach. Migration was sometimes asymmetric or directional, coinciding with the flow of major oceanic and coastal currents in the region. Mismatch distributions, based on the observed number of differences among haplotype pairs, produced a unimodal distribution, indicative of recent demographic expansion. Phylogenetic analyses revealed three clades without any geographic structure, suggesting recent migration between historically isolated lineages. We reconstructed the historical demography of S. ghobban and examined it in the context of Pleistocene climate stages and changes in relative sea level. Overall, these results showed that populations of S. ghobban are genetically diverse and have relatively high gene flow, with some genetic structuring in the western Indian Ocean.


Coral Reef Reef Fish Western Indian Ocean Mismatch Distribution Eastern Indian Ocean 
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 paper greatly benefited from the comments of its anonymous reviewers. We are grateful to the staff of WWF Kiunga Station for assistance with sampling of fish in northern Kenya. Jan Robinson and Rodney Govinden of the Seychelles Fishing Authority provided us with samples from Seychelles. This work was supported by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) through their Marine Science for Management (MASMA) Grant program and Academia Sinica Thematic Grants (2006–2007) to CAC. SV is the recipient of a postdoctoral research fellowship from Academia Sinica (2006–2010) and MCY is the recipient of a PhD scholarship from the Biodiversity Research Centre, Academia Sinica (BRCAS; Coral Reef Evolutionary Ecology and Genetics contribution No. 56).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shakil Visram
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ming-Che Yang
    • 1
    • 6
  • Ruby Moothien Pillay
    • 3
  • Sadri Said
    • 4
  • Oskar Henriksson
    • 5
  • Mats Grahn
    • 5
  • Chaolun Allen Chen
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Biodiversity Research Centre Academia SinicaNankang, TaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO) East AfricaMombasaKenya
  3. 3.Mauritius Oceanography InstituteFrance CentreQuatre-BornesMauritius
  4. 4.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Dar es SalaamZanzibarTanzania
  5. 5.School of Life SciencesSödertörn University CollegeHuddingeSweden
  6. 6.Institute of OceanographyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  7. 7.Department of Life ScienceNational Taitung UniversityTaitungTaiwan

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