Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 8, pp 1595–1607 | Cite as

Complex patterns of population structure and recruitment of Plectropomus leopardus (Pisces: Epinephelidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: implications for fisheries management

  • Lynne Van HerwerdenEmail author
  • J. Howard Choat
  • Stephen J. Newman
  • Matthieu Leray
  • Grethe Hillersøy
Original Paper


Here the population genetic structure of an ecologically and economically important coral reef fish, the coral trout Plectropomus leopardus, is investigated in the context of contemporary and historical events. Coral trout were sampled from four regions (six locations) and partial mtDNA D-loop sequences identified six populations (Fst = 0.89209, P < 0.0001): Scott Reef and the Abrolhos Islands in west Australia; the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), represented by northern and southern GBR samples; New Caledonia and Taiwan, with Taiwan containing two genetic lineages. Furthermore, this study identified source and sink populations within and among regions. Specifically, the northern population in west Australia (Scott Reef) was identified, as the source for replenishment of the Abrolhos population, whilst New Caledonia was a source for recruitment to the GBR. Based on these insights from a single mtDNA marker, this study will facilitate the development of rational management plans for the conservation of P. leopardus populations and therefore mitigate the risk of population declines from anthropogenic influences.


Gene Flow Last Glacial Maximum Great Barrier Reef East Australian Current Coral Trout 
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 study was funded by grants to JHC and LVH from James Cook University’s Competitive Research Incentive Grant Scheme; the Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and Arts for funding collection and processing of material from the Coral Sea; and the Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia for logistical support to collect samples from WA. We thank JP Hobbs, Craig Skepper, Kim Nardi, Chris Dibden, Glenn Almany and Will Robbins, for assisting in sample collection from WA and the Coral Sea. Brett Molony and Vanessa Messmer kindly provided samples from New Caledonia. We thank Emmanuelle Botte for extracting DNA from new tissue samples from Scott Reef, which were used in this study. Final thanks to David Williamson and Richard Evans for unpublished observations pertaining to PLD values of coral trout.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynne Van Herwerden
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • J. Howard Choat
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Newman
    • 3
  • Matthieu Leray
    • 2
  • Grethe Hillersøy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Molecular Ecology and Evolution LaboratoryJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries, Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research LaboratoriesGovernment of Western AustraliaNorth BeachAustralia

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