Full-sibs in cohorts of newly settled coral reef fishes.
Reef fishes exhibit a bipartite life cycle where a benthic adult stage is preceded by a pelagic dispersal phase during which larvae are presumed to be mixed and transported by oceanic currents. Genetic analyses based on twelve microsatellite loci of 181 three-spot dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus) that settled concurrently on a small reef in French Polynesia revealed 11 groups of siblings (1 full sibs and 10 half-sibs). This is the first evidence that fish siblings can journey together throughout their entire planktonic dispersal phase (nearly a month long for three-spot dascyllus). Our findings have critical implications for the dynamics and genetic structure of fish populations, as well as for the design of marine protected areas and management of fisheries.