Connectivity of coral reefs and mangroves in the Western Indian Ocean (COCOMA-WIO)

Project Details


A fundamental question in marine ecology is the connectivity of populations. Are populations highly interconnected or separated? Adults of most marine animals of coral reefs and mangroves are strongly site attached and connectivity among populations can only be facilitated by eggs and/or larvae that drift with ocean currents. Since the open ocean does not show any obvious barriers for dispersal, it was generally assumed that marine populations are open populations. However, recent population genetic studies have shown that populations of coral reefs can show sharp genetic breaks, which can be related to oceanographic barriers. The proposed project aims to study connectivity of coral reef and mangrove populations in the Western Indian Ocean in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar. Tissue samples of a wide range of model taxa will be collected, including anemonefish, giant clams, starfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and coral. By investigating the genetic relatedness of the specimens, the connectivity among populations can be estimated. These data can be integrated with data and samples from the Red Sea and Southeast Asia of previous projects of the applicant for a late scale analysis of connectivity across the Indian Ocean.
Effective start/end date1/01/1231/12/15


  • Biology

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences