The scope of published population genetic data for Indo-Pacific marine fauna and future research opportunities in the region.
Bulletin of Marine Science
Marine biodiversity reaches its pinnacle in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, with high levels of both species richness and endemism, especially in coral reef habitats. While this pattern of biodiversity has been known to biogeographers for centuries, causal mechanisms remain enigmatic. Over the past 20 yrs, genetic markers have been employed by many researchers as a tool to elucidate patterns of biodiversity above and below the species level, as well as to make inferences about the underlying processes of diversification, demographic history, and dispersal. In a quantitative, comparative framework, these data can be synthesized to address questions about this bewildering diversity by treating species as "replicates." However, the sheer size of the Indo-Pacific region means that the geographic and genetic scope of many species' data sets are not complementary. Here, we describe data sets from 116 Indo-Pacific species (108 studies). With a mind to future synthetic investigations, we consider the strengths and omissions of currently published population genetic data for marine fauna of the Indo-Pacific region, as well as the geographic and taxonomic scope of the data, and suggest some ways forward for data collection and collation.