Obtaining dispersal estimates for a species is key to understanding local adaptation and population dynamics and to implementing conservation actions. Genetic isolation-by-distance (IBD) patterns can be used for estimating dispersal, and these patterns are especially useful for marine species in which few other methods are available. In this study, we genotyped coral reef fish (Amphiprion biaculeatus) at 16 microsatellite loci across eight sites across 210 km in the central Philippines to generate fine-scale estimates of dispersal. All sites except for one followed IBD patterns. Using IBD theory, we estimated a larval dispersal kernel spread of 8.9 km (95% confidence interval of 2.3–18.4 km). Genetic distance to the remaining site correlated strongly with the inverse probability of larval dispersal from an oceanographic model. Ocean currents were a better explanation for genetic distance at large spatial extents (sites greater than 150 km apart), while geographic distance remained the best explanation for spatial extents less than 150 km. Our study demonstrates the utility of combining IBD patterns with oceanographic simulations to understand connectivity in marine environments and to guide marine conservation strategies.
- marine conservation
- marine larvae
- population genetics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)