Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 11, pp 2495–2507 | Cite as

Pleistocene diversification of the Pomacentrus coelestis species complex (Pisces: Pomacentridae): historical biogeography and species boundaries

  • Laurie Sorenson
  • Gerald R. Allen
  • Mark V. Erdmann
  • Chang-Feng Dai
  • Shang-Yin Vanson Liu
Original Paper


Pleistocene eustatic changes in sea level are often invoked to explain genetic divergence among marine organisms. However, molecular phylogenies have revealed relatively few examples of speciation events dating to the Pleistocene. We present a species-level hypothesis of the timing of evolution for the Pomacentrus coelestis species complex (Pomacentridae), based on the nuclear S7 intron and the mitochondrial Cytb gene, and reconstruct ancestral range distributions across the timetree. Ancestral range reconstruction suggests the complex originated in the Coral Triangle and East Indian Ocean, with subsequent range expansion outward from this region. We suggest that land barriers to dispersal (e.g., Indo-Pacific barrier) may be responsible for the divergence between Indian (P. alleni, P. similis, P. caeruleopunctatus, and P. caeruleus) and Pacific (P. micronesicus, P. auriventris, and P. coelestis) species groups, and subsequent isolation by Pleistocene sea-level fluctuations in certain areas of the Coral Triangle (glacial refugia) may play an important role in the diversification of this species complex. Additionally, our analyses show cryptic lineages within P. micronesicus and highlight the need for comprehensive sampling within and among species to reveal recent speciation events.


Indian Ocean Pleistocene Color Morph Glacial Refugium Coral Triangle 
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.



We would like to thank Andrew Bentley (University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute) and Ofer Gon (South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity) for providing tissue samples of Pomacentrus caeruleopunctatus (SAIAB 80854 and SAIAB 77347, respectively), and Bruno Frederich for sharing samples of Pomacentrus caeruleus from Madagascar. This study was supported by a grant from the National Science Council of Taiwan ROC (NSC99-2811-M-002-151) to C.F.D.

Supplementary material

227_2014_2521_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (116 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 116 kb)
227_2014_2521_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (380 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 380 kb)
227_2014_2521_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (472 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 471 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Sorenson
    • 1
  • Gerald R. Allen
    • 2
  • Mark V. Erdmann
    • 3
  • Chang-Feng Dai
    • 4
  • Shang-Yin Vanson Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Aquatic ZoologyWestern Australian MuseumPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Conservation International, Indonesia Marine ProgramBaliIndonesia
  4. 4.Institute of OceanographyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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