Management of Hawaiian Precious Corals Using Molecular Genetic Methods

EPA Grant Number: U915626
Title: Management of Hawaiian Precious Corals Using Molecular Genetic Methods
Investigators: Baco-Taylor, Amy R.
Institution: University of Hawaii at Honolulu
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: July 1, 1999 through July 1, 2002
Project Amount: $97,972
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Oceanography , Fellowship - Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystems , Academic Fellowships


The objective of this research project is to examine the population genetic structure of three species of precious corals, to determine the appropriate management units (or "stocks") for each of these species. Eight precious coral beds in the Hawaiian Archipelago will be studied to address the following specific hypotheses: (1) beds of precious corals in the main Hawaiian Islands are genetically isolated units; (2) rates of gene flow differ among species and are correlated with life histories; and (3) precious corals in the WesPac ?Refugium? do not supply sufficient propagules to replenish commercial beds of corals throughout the Hawaiian Islands.


For each locality, 10-30 precious corals will be collected and sampled, representing both different islands as well as different localities within islands. DNA will be extracted following established methods. Microsatellite markers and intron markers also will be developed following established methods. Genetic isolation will be estimated using standard FST and Nem statistics with 95 percent confidence limits for each marker system: RST for microsatellites and KST for introns. Genetic differentiation will be assessed both at the within island scale and among islands. Pairwise comparisons of populations will be used to test: (1) how genetic differentiation varies by distance; (2) whether there is a directionality of movement of propagules; and (3) whether adaptation to local environmental conditions is indicated.

Expected Results:

A series of markers for these corals species will be identified to test genetic differentiation, propagule movement, and adaptation factors.

Supplemental Keywords:

fisheries, coral, deep sea, DNA, microsatellite, Hawaii, HI., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, State, Aquatic Ecosystem, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, fisheries, Hawaii, aquatic ecosystems, environmental indicators, coral reef communities, ecosystem stress, adaptation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • Final