First study of asexual planulae in the coral Pocillopora damicornis type β SSH05c from the southwestern Indian Ocean
With the recent taxonomic revision of the scleractinian Pocillopora damicornis (Linnaeus 1758), now identified as a species complex, former reproduction studies must be reconsidered. In this context, this study focuses on P. damicornis type β, more precisely SSH05c sensu Gélin et al. (Mol Phylogenet Evol 109:430–446, 2017b), found exclusively in the Indian Ocean. We aimed to determine whether P. damicornis type β SSH05c is able to produce asexually derived larvae. For this, colonies were collected in Reunion Island and kept in aquaria. Two mother colonies released larvae that were genotyped using 13 microsatellite loci along with the mother colony to compare their multi-locus genotypes and identify clones. All planulae (9 and 84, respectively) presented a genotype identical to their mother colony. This study provides the first evidence of asexual larval production in P. damicornis type β SSH05c from the southwestern Indian Ocean. However, given the limited data set, more studies are needed to better characterize the role and frequency of this reproductive strategy for this lineage.
KeywordsAsexual reproduction Clonal propagation Coral reefs Cryptic diversity Microsatellites Scleractinian reproduction
We gratefully thank A. Dievart and A. Grondin for coral collection and maintenance in aquaria. We acknowledge the Aquarium de La Réunion who provided the infrastructure for the experiment and the Plateforme Gentyane of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA, Clermont-Ferrand, France) for genotyping and technical support. We also thank the five anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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