A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

143 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Worldwide degradation of coral reef communities has prompted a surge in restoration efforts. They proceed largely without considering genetic factors because traditionally, coral populations have been regarded as open over large areas with little potential for local adaptation. Since, biophysical and molecular studies indicated that most populations are closed over shorter time and smaller spatial scales. Thus, it is justified to re-examine the potential for site adaptation in corals. There is ample evidence for differentiated populations, inbreeding, asexual reproduction and the occurrence of ecotypes, factors that may facilitate local adaptation. Discovery of widespread local adaptation would influence coral restoration projects mainly with regard to the physical and evolutionary distance from the source wild and/or captive bred propagules may be moved without causing a loss of fitness in the restored population. Proposed causes for loss of fitness as a result of (plant) restoration efforts include founder effects, genetic swamping, inbreeding and/or outbreeding depression. Direct evidence for any of these processes is scarce in reef corals due to a lack of model species that allow for testing over multiple generations and the separation of the relative contributions of algal symbionts and their coral hosts to the overall performance of the coral colony. This gap in our knowledge may be closed by employing novel population genetic and genomics approaches. The use of molecular tools may aid managers in the selection of appropriate propagule sources, guide spatial arrangement of transplants, and help in assessing the success of coral restoration projects by tracking the performance of transplants, thereby generating important data for future coral reef conservation and restoration projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2796-2811
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

Fingerprint

Coral Reefs
Anthozoa
coral reefs
coral reef
corals
coral
local adaptation
Inbreeding
inbreeding
Population
fitness
Asexual Reproduction
outbreeding depression
Ecotype
Founder Effect
Transplants
Metagenomics
founder effect
asexual reproduction
propagule

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

Cite this

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A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation. / Baums, Iliana B.

In: Molecular ecology, Vol. 17, No. 12, 01.06.2008, p. 2796-2811.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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