Out of the Mediterranean? Post‐glacial colonization pathways varied among cold‐water coral species

Type Article
Date 2019-05
Language English
Author(s) Boavida Joana1, 2, 3, Becheler Ronan4, 5, 6, Choquet Marvin4, 7, Frank Norbert8, Taviani Marco9, 10, 11, Bourillet Jean-FrancoisORCID12, Meistertzheim Anne‐leila13, 14, Grehan Anthony15, Savini Alessandra16, Arnaud-Haond SophieORCID1, 15
Affiliation(s) 1 : MARBEC, Institut Français de Recherche pour L'Exploitation de la MerUniv MontpellierCNRSIRD Sète ,France
2 : Aix Marseille UniversitéCNRS/INSUUniversité de ToulonIRDMediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) UM 110 Marseille ,France
3 : Centro de Ciências do MarUniversidade do Algarve Faro, Portugal
4 : Institut Français de Recherche pour L'Exploitation de la MerCentre de BretagneREM/EEPLaboratoire Environnement Profond Bretagne ,France
5 : CNRSUMI 3614 Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of AlgaeSorbonne UniversitéUPMC Univ Paris 6 Roscoff ,France
6 : Station Biologique de Roscoff ,Roscoff Cedex ,France
7 : Faculty of Biosciences and AquacultureNord University Bodø ,Norway
8 : Institute of Environmental PhysicsHeidelberg University Heidelberg ,Germany
9 : Institute of Marine Sciences ‐ National Research Council (ISMAR‐CNR) Bologna, Italy
10 : Biology DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole Massachusetts, usa
11 : Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Villa Comunale Naples, Italy
12 : Institut Français de Recherche pour L'Exploitation de la MerPhysical Resources and Sea Floor Ecosystems Department Brest ,France
13 : CNRSSorbonne UniversitésLaboratoire d'Ecogéochimie des Environnements Benthiques (LECOB) Banyuls‐sur‐Mer ,France
14 : CNRSSorbonne UniversitésLaboratoire d'Océanographie Microbienne (LOMIC) Banyuls‐sur‐Mer ,France
15 : Department of Earth & Ocean SciencesNUI Galway Galway ,Ireland
16 : Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversità degli Studi di Milano‐Bicocca Milano ,Italy
Source Journal Of Biogeography (0305-0270) (Wiley), 2019-05 , Vol. 46 , N. 5 , P. 915-931
DOI 10.1111/jbi.13570
WOS© Times Cited 15
Keyword(s) cold-water corals, deep-sea, glacial marine refugia, Last Glacial Maximum, Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata, marine phylogeography


To infer cold‐water corals’ (CWC) post‐glacial phylogeography and assess the role of Mediterranean Sea glacial refugia as origins for the recolonization of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean.


Northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.


Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata.


We sampled CWC using remotely operated vehicles and one sediment core for coral and sediment dating. We characterized spatial genetic patterns (microsatellites and a nuclear gene fragment) using networks, clustering and measures of genetic differentiation.


Inferences from microsatellite and sequence data were congruent, and showed a contrast between the two CWC species. Populations of L. pertusa present a dominant pioneer haplotype, local haplotype radiations and a majority of endemic variation in lower latitudes. Madrepora oculata populations are differentiated across the northeastern Atlantic and genetic lineages are poorly admixed even among neighbouring sites.


Our study shows contrasting post‐glacial colonization pathways for two key habitat‐forming species in the deep sea. The CWC L. pertusa has likely undertaken a long‐range (post‐glacial) recolonization of the northeastern Atlantic directly from refugia located along southern Europe (Mediterranean Sea or Gulf of Cadiz). In contrast, the stronger genetic differentiation of M. oculata populations mirrors the effects of long‐term isolation in multiple refugia. We suggest that the distinct and genetically divergent, refugial populations initiated the post‐glacial recolonization of the northeastern Atlantic margins, leading to a secondary contact in the northern range and reaching higher latitudes much later, in the late Holocene. This study highlights the need to disentangle the influences of present‐day dispersal and evolutionary processes on the distribution of genetic polymorphisms, to unravel the influence of past and future environmental changes on the connectivity of cosmopolitan deep‐sea ecosystems associated with CWC.

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Boavida Joana, Becheler Ronan, Choquet Marvin, Frank Norbert, Taviani Marco, Bourillet Jean-Francois, Meistertzheim Anne‐leila, Grehan Anthony, Savini Alessandra, Arnaud-Haond Sophie (2019). Out of the Mediterranean? Post‐glacial colonization pathways varied among cold‐water coral species. Journal Of Biogeography, 46(5), 915-931. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13570 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00487/59864/