Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 8, pp 1679–1691 | Cite as

Phylogeography of the Indo-Pacific parrotfish Scarus psittacus: isolation generates distinctive peripheral populations in two oceans

  • Kate L. Winters
  • Lynne van HerwerdenEmail author
  • J. Howard Choat
  • D. R. Robertson
Original Paper


Phylogenetic, phylogeographic, population genetic and coalescence analyses were combined to examine the recent evolutionary history of the widespread Indo-Pacific parrotfish, Scarus psittacus, over a geographic range spanning three marine biogeographic realms. We sequenced 164 individuals from 12 locations spanning 17,000 km, from 55ºE to 143ºW, using 322 base pairs of mitochondrial control region (D-loop). S. psittacus displayed high haplotype (h = 0.83–0.98), but low nucleotide (<1%) diversity. Most (>83%) genetic variation was within populations. AMOVA revealed significant partitioning and identified five geographic groups. These included one central population and four populations peripheral to the centre. The central population occupied reefs from Western Australia to Tahiti and represented the central Indo-Pacific biogeographic realm. Cocos Keeling was distinct from central and western Indo-Pacific biogeographic realms occupying a position intermediate to these. Peripheral populations (Hawaii, Marquesas) represented the eastern Indo-Pacific biogeographic realm, while Seychelles represented the western Indo-Pacific biogeographic realm. All but the central population expanded (<163 kya). Whilst all populations experienced major sea level and SST changes associated with Pleistocene glaciation cycles, the genetic structure of the central population was relatively homogenous unlike the remaining genetically distinctive populations.


Indian Ocean Reef Fish Minimum Span Tree Great Barrier Reef Hermit Crab 
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.



Funding and logistic support were provided by The National Geographic Society, (Cocos Keeling, Marquesas), The Queensland Government/Smithsonian Institution Collaborative Research Program on Reef Fishes, The Smithsonian Institution, The Seychelles Fishing Authority, Cocos Keeling and Christmas Island National Parks, Department of Environment and Heritage Australia, The Taiwan National Museum, The Australian Institute of Marine Science, The Lizard Island Research Station, the University of Guam Marine Laboratory; University of Hawaii Marine Laboratory and the James Cook University internal funding scheme. Tahiti specimens were collected by M. Meekan, W. Murray, R. Thorne, J. Robinson, J. Ackerman, W. Robbins, Li Shu Chen and L. Rocha. C. Birkeland provided logistic and field assistance, collection of specimens and access to Museum material. Collections on the GBR were carried out under GBRMPA Permit number G03/3871.1. S. Klanten, D. Blair and the JCU Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory assisted with laboratory work and analysis. The work was carried out under James Cook University Ethics Approval No. A503.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate L. Winters
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lynne van Herwerden
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Howard Choat
    • 1
  • D. R. Robertson
    • 2
  1. 1.Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, School of Tropical and Marine BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleQLDAustralia
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaPanama
  3. 3.Minerals Management Service, Biological Science Unit (MS 5432)New OrleansUSA

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