Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Heath, D.


Biology, Genetics




Dispersal in marine systems is of great importance within the context of ecology, evolution and conservation. Yet, in coral reef fish with pelagic larvae, little is known about their levels of connectivity, as it is very difficult to directly track these organisms through their deep-water dispersive stage. The dispersal of juvenile bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus ), sampled from 16 sites on the Meso-American Barrier Reef System (MBRS), was inferred from allele frequency data based on six microsatellite DNA markers at three spatial scales: small (<20 >km), medium (20 to 40 km), and large (100 to 300 km). Juvenile bicolor damselfish within the MBRS were found to possess genetic homogeneity at large geographic scales, with cryptic genetic structure detected at small and medium scales, most likely due to micro-geographic effects. The stability of the genetic structure in 12 of these sites was examined over annual and seasonal scales using the same suite of genetic markers. The genetic structure of these populations was found to be variable over both time-scales examined. From these results, it can be inferred that dispersal patterns of the bicolor damselfish are more stochastic than directed, and that temporally unstable genetic patchiness is present in newly recruited bicolor damselfish over the MBRS, possibly due to high reproductive variance. These findings are of importance for future research, as well as conservation and management strategies addressing connectivity in coral reef fish.Dept. of Biological Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .H47. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-05, page: 1664. Adviser: Daniel D. Heath. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.