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Genetic Diversity and Clonal Structure of the Cold-Water Coral Lophelia pertusa in NE Skagerrak based on Microsatellites

Paper i proceeding
Författare Mikael Dahl
Carl André
Tomas Lundälv
Publicerad i Deepsea Coral Symposium 2008, 4th ISDSC. Programme and Abstract Book, Wellington, New Zealand, December 1-5, 2008
Publiceringsår 2008
Publicerad vid Institutionen för marin ekologi, Tjärnö marinbiologiska laboratorium
Institutionen för marin ekologi
Språk en
Ämnesord cold-water corals, coral reef, Lophelia pertusa, marine ecology, genetic diversity, clonal structure, microsatellites, Skagerrak
Ämneskategorier Cell- och molekylärbiologi, Genetik, Marin ekologi


Lophelia pertusa is probably the most widespread scleractinian coral in the world. In the northeast Atlantic it is the main reef building species and regarded as an autogenic engineer or a key structural species. The three-dimensional reef structure constitutes the foundation for a diverse and complex habitat that provides food and protection for numerous other species, including several commercial fish species. The main depth distribution is between 200 and 1000 meters on the European continental shelf. Although in fjords, due to special conditions, reefs occur shallower than 100 meter. This is the situation in northeast Skagerrak between Sweden and Norway where five extant reef-complexes lives at 70-120 meters depth. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a manipulator arm was used (non-invasive sampling) to take a few polyps from coral colonies. Microsatellites is a powerful genetic neutral marker. They are highly polymorphic and co-dominant which makes them very useful for population studies. 13 loci have been used to genotype all collected individuals. The results describe the genetic diversity and the genetic structure at a fine-scale in the area. Additionally, microsatellites can with high confidence discriminate sexually derived individuals from clonally derived individuals. This attribute was utilized to construct a clone-map that describes the reefal architecture from a genetic individual perspective. The largest reef in the area, the Tisler reef (1200 meters long and 300 meters wide), has been exhaustively sampled. More than 80 samples have been collected to elucidate how the reefs are built up. Dense thicket of Lophelia cover the top of the deep reef mound, hitherto the genetic constitution of the reefs have been unknown. No one has to our knowledge ever been able to shown how genetic individuals are distributed throughout a cold-water coral reef.

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