Conservation Genetics

, 10:241 | Cite as

Genetic structure of Heliofungia actiniformis (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) populations in the Indo-Malay Archipelago: implications for live coral trade management efforts

  • Leyla Knittweis
  • Wiebke Elsbeth Kraemer
  • Janne Timm
  • Marc Kochzius
Reserach Article


The fungiid Heliofungia actiniformis is one of the most popular scleractinian coral species in the growing live aquarium trade, with the majority of specimens originating in Indonesia. Details on population connectivity may potentially provide important information with regards to harvest management efforts. Genetic structure was examined, using ribosomal ITS1, 5.8S and partial ITS2 sequences on a small scale among populations in the Spermonde Archipelago, South Sulawesi (up to 65 km distance, Φst = 0.09), and on a large scale throughout the Indo-Malay Archipelago (up to 2,900 km distance, Φst = 0.26). Significant genetic structuring was found at both scales. Within the Spermonde Archipelago isolation by distance as well as local oceanographic features shaped patterns of genetic connectivity. On the large scale, the data revealed genetically distinct populations in Tomini Bay, New Guinea and the Thousand Islands near Jakarta, and a lack of genetic differentiation among populations lying close to or directly in the path of the Indonesian throughflow: from the central Visayas to the Flores Sea (Φct = 0.32). Whilst the influence of both historical and present day processes on genetic structuring of H. actiniformis populations was revealed, large scale results further emphasised the importance of oceanographic dynamics on larval dispersal patterns in this species. Potential for larval input from surrounding populations, and the increased vulnerability of upstream as well as isolated populations should be taken into consideration when setting future harvest quotas.


Mushroom coral Larval source Genetic variation Larval dispersal Indo-Pacific 



We would like to thank staff and students at the Centre for Coral Reef Research of Hasanuddin University (UNHAS) in Makassar, Indonesia, for invaluable help and advice with logistics, especially J. Jompa. We also thank B. Marit and H. Jalil for assistance with sample collection at Pulau Sembilan and Pulau Seribu. This study is part of the SPICE (Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems) Project, conducted and permitted under bilateral governmental agreements between the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Indonesian Ministry for Research and Technology (RISTEK) / the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) / the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DKP) / the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT). Funding was provided by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF grant numbers 03F0390A and 03F0390B). The collection of samples in Tomini Bay and New Guinea was made possible by research expeditions financed by UNHAS Wallacea Institute and GEO Magazine (Hamburg, Germany) respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leyla Knittweis
    • 1
  • Wiebke Elsbeth Kraemer
    • 2
  • Janne Timm
    • 2
  • Marc Kochzius
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Tropical Marine EcologyBremenGermany
  2. 2.Biotechnology and Molecular Genetics, FB2-UFT University of BremenBremenGermany

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