Genetic divergence and range expansion in a western North Pacific coral

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Dec 20:152423. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152423. Online ahead of print.


Coral poleward range expansions have recently been observed in response to warming oceans. Range expansion can lead to reduced genetic diversity and increased frequency of deleterious mutations that were rare in core populations, potentially limiting the ability for adaptation and persistence in novel environments. Successful expansions that overcome these founder effects and colonize new habitat have been attributed to multiple introductions from different sources, hybridization with native populations, or rapid adaptive evolution. Here, we investigate population genomic patterns of the reef-building coral Acropora hyacinthus along a latitudinal cline that includes a well-established range expansion front in Japan using 2b-RAD sequencing. A total of 184 coral samples were collected across seven sites spanning from ~24°N to near its northern range front at ~33°N. We uncover the presence of three cryptic lineages of A. hyacinthus, which occupy discrete reefs within this region. Only one lineage is present at the expansion front and we find evidence for its historical occupation of marginal habitats. Within this lineage we also find evidence of bottleneck pressures associated with expansion events including higher clonality, increased linkage disequilibrium, and lower genetic diversity in range edge populations compared to core populations. Asymmetric migration between populations was also detected with lower migration from edge sites. Lastly, we describe genomic signatures of local adaptation potentially attributed to lower winter temperatures experienced at the more recently expanded northern populations. Together these data illuminate the genomic consequences of range expansion in a coral and highlight how adaptation to discrete environments along the expansion front may facilitate further range expansion in this temperate coral lineage.

PMID:34942242 | DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152423

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