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Title: Demographic history of Diadema antillarum, a keystone herbivore on Caribbean reefs
Authors: Lessios, H. A.
Garrido, M. J.
Kessing, B. D.
UNESCO Clasification: 240119 Zoología marina
310510 Dinámica de las poblaciones
Keywords: Human Mitochondrial-Dna
Mass Mortality
Community Structure, et al
Issue Date: 2001
Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 
Abstract: The sea urchin Diadema antillarum was the most important herbivore on Caribbean reefs until 1983, when mass mortality reduced its populations by more than 97%. Knowledge of its past demography is essential to reconstruct reef ecology as it was before human impact, which has been implicated as having caused high pre-mortality Diadema abundance. To determine the history of its population size, we sequenced the ATPase 6 and 8 region of mitochondrial DNA from populations in the Caribbean and in the eastern Atlantic (which was not affected by the mass mortality), as well as from the eastern Pacific D. mexicanum. The Caribbean population harbours an order of magnitude more molecular diversity than those of the eastern Pacific or the eastern Atlantic and, despite the recent mass mortality, its DNA sequences bear the genetic signature of a previous population expansion. By estimating mutation rates front divergence between D. antillarum and D. mexicanum, that were separated at a known time by the Isthmus of Panama, and by using estimates of effective population size derived from mismatch distributions and a maximum likelihood coalescence algorithm, we date the expansion as having occurred no more recently than 100 000 years before the present. Thus, Diadema was abundant in the Caribbean long before humans could have affected ecological processes; the genetic data contain no evidence of a recent, anthropogenically caused, population increase.
ISSN: 0962-8452
Source: Proceedings Of The Royal Society B-Biological Sciences [ISSN 0962-8452], v. 268 (1483), p. 2347-2353, (Noviembre 2001)
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