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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 839134, 17 pages
Research Article

Phylogeography of the Pacific Blueline Surgeonfish, Acanthurus nigroris, Reveals High Genetic Connectivity and a Cryptic Endemic Species in the Hawaiian Archipelago

1Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, P.O. Box 1346, Kane'ohe, HI 96744, USA
2Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 9000, Mayagüez 00681, Puerto Rico
3Marine Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin, 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas, TX 78373, USA

Received 16 June 2010; Accepted 11 October 2010

Academic Editor: Kim Selkoe

Copyright © 2011 Joseph D. DiBattista et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Understanding genetic connectivity is fundamental to the design of marine protected areas in the service of ecosystem-scale management. Here we evaluate such trends for a Pacific surgeonfish (Acanthurus nigroris; N=544) at two spatial scales: (1) within the Hawaiian archipelago, and (2) across the entire species range from the central to southwest Pacific. The mtDNA cytochrome b data reveal genetic divergence (d=0.041) between Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific range indicating a cryptic species pair, with one taxon endemic to Hawaii. Johnston Atoll, 1400 km SW of Hawaii, also has the Hawaiian species but is distinct from most Hawaiian locations in population genetic comparisons, indicating the limits of gene flow for this widespread reef species. No consistent population genetic differences were observed among Hawaiian sites or among the other Pacific island sites. We also detected a modest bias in gene flow from the southeast towards the northwest islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago, indicating that the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument may be a recipient, rather than a source of propagules to replenish reef resources.