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Data from: Sperm dispersal distances estimated by parentage analysis in a brooding scleractinian coral


Warner, Patricia et al. (2016), Data from: Sperm dispersal distances estimated by parentage analysis in a brooding scleractinian coral, Dryad, Dataset,


Within populations of brooding sessile corals, sperm dispersal constitutes the mechanism by which gametes interact and mating occurs, and forms the first link in the network of processes that determine species-wide connectivity patterns. However, almost nothing is known about sperm dispersal for any internally fertilizing coral. In this study, we conducted a parentage analysis on coral larvae collected from an area of mapped colonies, in order to measure the distance sperm disperses for the first time in a reef-building coral and estimated the mating system characteristics of a recently identified putative cryptic species within the Seriatopora hystrix complex (ShA; Warner et al. 2015). We defined consensus criteria among several replicated methods (COLONY 2.0, Cervus 3.0, MLTR v3.2) to maximize accuracy in paternity assignments. Thirteen progeny arrays indicated that this putative species produces exclusively sexually-derived, primarily outcrossed larvae (mean tm=0.999) in multiple paternity broods (mean rp=0.119). Self-fertilization was directly detected at low frequency for all broods combined (2.8%), but comprised 23% of matings in one brood. Although over 82% of mating occurred between colonies within 10 m of each other (mean sperm dispersal = 5.5 m ±4.37 SD), we found no evidence of inbreeding in the established population. Restricted dispersal of sperm compared to slightly greater larval dispersal appears to limit inbreeding among close relatives in this cryptic species. Our findings establish a good basis for further work on sperm dispersal in brooding corals and provide the first information about the mating system of a newly identified and abundant cryptic species.

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14.6861S 145.4437E
Great Barrier Reef