A study of the population genetics of Zoanthid species in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait. Variations in gene frequencies of allozymes and common proteins were used to estimate connectivity and dispersal between populations, and to determine their phylogeny (discrete species identities). Zoanthus coppingeri was studied in greater detail.
In 1992-1993, 1261 samples of Palythoa sp. were collected from 2 backreef sites at each of 19 reefs (at least 30 individuals per site) and one site at Hope Island (analysis suggested that all samples were Palythoa caesia). Seven enzymes (GPI, EST-D, MPI, MDH, ME, PGM, HK) were used in the analysis. BIOSYS-1 was used to calculate gene frequencies and genetic variablity.
355 specimens were collected from 19 locations 1992-1994. 7 species were identified (Palythoa caesia, Protopalythoa mutuki, Pro. sp.2, Pro. sp.3, Sphenopus marsupialis, Zoanthus coppingeri and Z. vietnamensis) form the samples. Gene frequencies at 13 enzyme loci (ENO, EST-D, GP, HK,LGG-1, LGG-2, LP, LT-1, LT-2, MDH-1, MDH-2, ME, PGM) were analysed. UPGMA cluster analysis was carried out and a phylogenic tree constructed for assessing genetic variablity. A taxonomic key was created for Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Zoanthidae, as well as a table of diagnostic features for 10 morphological groupings of Zoanthidae and one species (Parazoanthus dichroicus) of Parazoanthidae.
During 1992-1993, 319 samples of intertidal Zoanthus coppingeri were collected from Kissing Point, Townsville and 2 sites each at Cockle Bay on Magnetic Island and Low Island (Low Isles). Six polymorphic enzymes (ENO, MDH, EST-D, HK, PGM, LGG) were used in the analysis at site level, subsite level and locality level. Values of genetic differentiation were calculated.