Genetic tools link long-term demographic and life-history traits of anemonefish to their anemone hosts

Océane C. Salles, Pablo Saenz-Agudelo, Glenn R. Almany, Michael L. Berumen, Simon R. Thorrold, Geoffrey P. Jones, Serge Planes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The life-history traits and population dynamics of species are increasingly being attributed to the characteristics of their preferred habitats. While coral reef fish are often strongly associated with particular habitats, long-term studies establishing the demographic and life-history consequences of occupying different reef substrata are rare and no studies have monitored individuals in situ over their lifetime and determined the fate of their offspring. Here, we documented a quasi-turnover and local reproductive success for an entire population of orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula) from Kimbe Island, Papua New Guinea, by taking bi-annual samples of DNA over a 10-yr period (2003–2013). We compared demographic and life-history traits of individuals living on two host anemone species, Heteractis magnifica and Stichodactyla gigantea, including female size, adult continued presence (a proxy for relative longevity range), early post-settlement growth, the number of eggs per clutch and ‘local’ reproductive success (defined for each adult as the number of offspring returning to the natal population). Our results indicate that while the relative longevity of adults was similar on both host anemone species, females living in H. magnifica were larger than females in S. gigantea. However, despite females growing larger and producing more eggs on H. magnifica, we found that local reproductive success was significantly higher for clownfish living in S. gigantea. Life-history traits also exhibited local spatial variation, with higher local reproductive success recorded for adults living on S. gigantea on the eastern side of the island. Our findings support a ‘silver-spoon’ hypothesis that predicts individuals that are fortunate enough to recruit into good habitat and location will be rewarded with higher long-term reproductive success and will make a disproportionate contribution to population renewal. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1138
Number of pages12
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 26 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


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