Mar 2024

Marine Science Seminar

Deciphering the species diversity of Pocillopora corals in the Indo-Pacific and the genetic connectivity of their populations

Dr. Hélène Magalon
27 Mar, 2024
03:00 PM – 04:00 PM

Species delimitation methods based on genetic information have been proposed as means of increasing the rate of biodiversity description. The recent development of sequencing technologies now enables the cost-effective capture of a large number of loci from hundreds of individuals. These methods appear as promising approaches to resolve complex phylogenies. This is particularly true in cnidarians, for which insufficient data due to the small number of currently available markers, associated with hybridization, introgression and morphological incongruences, leads to incomplete lineage sorting in gene trees. In this study, we focused on the coral genus Pocillopora, widely distributed in the tropical belt of the Indo- Pacific, playing key roles in reef ecosystems. In an approach of integrative taxonomy, we used genetics/genomics, geography and morphometry to decipher Pocillopora biodiversity from thousands of Pocillopora colonies, sampled in the Western Indian Ocean, the Tropical Southwestern Pacific and Southeast Polynesia, representing a huge variety of morphotypes. From that, the patterns of connectivity for the different identified species hypotheses were assessed, putting an end point to the myth of Pocillopora species showing an Indo-Pacific distribution.

Hélène MAGALON is lecturer at the University of Reunion Island since 2010 in Entropie lab, focusing on genetic connectivity and species delimitation in marine species. She works on different species from benthic species (corals, holothurians) to pelagic ones (shark). She defended her PhD in 2005 in Paris (France) on the dispersal of the coral Pocillopora meandrina in French Polynesia. After her PhD, she worked in various labs and subjects from the selection in a gene in Asian human populations to the experimental evolution in a host-pathogen system or the effect of bleaching in coral disease. She teaches biostatistics, populations genetics and population dynamics to undergraduate and master students. She is vice-dean of the Faculty of Sciences et Technologies.

Event Quick Information

27 Mar, 2024
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Building 2 - Level 5 - 5209