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Soft coral species exhibit strikingly different patterns of connectivity around the British Isles

Has the evolution of marine creatures been shaped by barriers to connectivity, as observed in many terrestrial species?

Listen to the Heredity journal podcast for further details. 

Scientists have generally seen sea life as more “connected”, with currents mixing species in a constant genetic melting pot.

But researchers at the University of Exeter have discovered the truth may be more complex, and some species could be just as disconnected as those divided by mountains or motorways.

They studied two species of soft coral, and in one – the pink sea fan – they found distinct genetic differences between those living in different places.

A short video describing the project is now available on the University's Youtube site (click here) and the paper is out now in the journal Heredity:

Holland, L.P., Jenkins, T.L. and Stevens, J.R. (2017) Contrasting patterns of population structure and gene flow facilitate exploration of connectivity in two widely distributed temperate octocorals. Heredity (online 15/3/2017), DOI 10.1038/hdy.2017.14. 

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