• B184;
  • inbreeding;
  • mating systems;
  • null alleles;
  • population structure;
  • zooxanthellae


Sixteen new microsatellite loci were isolated from the Tropical Atlantic coral Favia fragum. One locus amplified with pure zooxanthellae DNA template, revealing a symbiont (Symbiodinium) origin. We genotyped 48 short and 45 tall ecomorphs of F. fragum from the Bocas del Toro region of Panama. For 15 host loci, allelic diversity ranged from three to 23 with an average of 5.75 alleles per locus. Analysis of genotypic data revealed significant heterozygote deficits at all loci and linkage disequilibrium between loci, as did a previous study of the two ecomorphs with allozymes. We found evidence for null alleles at four of the host loci in the form of locus-specific polymerase chain reaction failure; however, extreme inbreeding via self-fertilization is likely to explain the large departures from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium.