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|Genetic population structure of the Blue Starfish (Linckia laevigata) in the Indo-Malay Archipelago based on microsatellites|
Sihaloho, H.F. (2013). Genetic population structure of the Blue Starfish (Linckia laevigata) in the Indo-Malay Archipelago based on microsatellites. MSc Thesis. Universiteit Antwerpen/Universiteit Gent/VUB: Antwerpen, Gent, Brussel. 10, 29 pp.
Broadcast spawner, genetic diversity, multiplex PCR
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Genetic analysis provides a starting point to understand larval dispersal and connectivity of marine organisms. The Indo-Malay Archipelago (IMA) has a complex geological history; it experienced sea level fluctuation during Plio-Pleistocene period and possesses a unique Indonesian Throughflow (ITF), which facilitates the only connection path between Indian and Pacific Oceans. The genetic population structure of the coral reef-associated blue starfish Linckia laevigata, which is widely distributed and has a long larval dispersal phase, was studied using 12 microsatellites markers. A total of 148 individuals of blue starfish were genotyped from 7 different sampling locations across the IMA. Microsatellite loci were polymorphic with a Mean Number of Alleles (MNA) ranging from 5.33 to 6.08 on population level. All populations significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (p < 0.001). A low genetic population structure was obtained (FST = 0.011, p < 0.001) using analysis of molecular variance. Structure analysis suggested four different clusters, and non-significant isolation by distance was indicated by the Mantel test (p = 0.140). A Principle Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) also confirmed the four possible groups. This study showed a population expansion of the blue starfish, and the genetic structure between the two oceans was less pronounced revealed by microsatellite marker.