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Mark A. Priest, Andrew R. Halford and Jennifer L. McIlwain Evidence of stable genetic structure across a remote island archipelago through self-recruitment in a widely dispersed coral reef fish Ecology and Evolution 2

Article first published online: 19 NOV 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.260

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For the majority of marine organisms a pelagic larval stage provides the primary mechanism for dispersal amongst often spatially fragmented habitat patches. The degree to which larvae disperse and populations are subsequently connected may have a profound influence on the population dynamics of a species. We used microsatellite markers to assess the population genetic structure of the scribbled rabbitfish Siganus spinus in the western Pacific. This species is a culturally important food fish in the Mariana Archipelago and subject to high fishing pressure. Our results confirm the relative isolation of the southern Mariana Islands population and highlight how local processes can act to isolate populations that, by virtue of their broad-scale distribution, have been subject to traditionally high gene flows.

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