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Putting the ‘Indo’ back into the Indo-Pacific: Resolving marine phylogeographic gaps

Wilson, N.G. and Kirkendale, L.A. (2016) Putting the ‘Indo’ back into the Indo-Pacific: Resolving marine phylogeographic gaps. Invertebrate Systematics, 30 (1). pp. 86-94.

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The Indo-Pacific is an extremely large marine realm that unites two oceans via a restricted Coral Triangle corridor, which was historically subjected to lowered sea levels during global glaciation. Although a strong phylogeographic focus on the Central and West Pacific has produced a large body of research, the Indian Ocean has been largely neglected. This may have serious consequences, because the Indian Ocean hosts a large number of marine centres of endemism, yet a large number of nations rely on its marine resources. We examine reasons for this neglect and review what is known about this region and its connectivity to the Indo-West Pacific. We draw attention to the ‘Leeuwin Effect’, a phenomenon where the southward flow of the Leeuwin Current is responsible for transporting larval propagules from the Coral Triangle region down the coast of Western Australia, resulting in broader Indo-West Pacific rather than Indian Ocean affinities. Given challenges in accessing infrastructure and samples, collaboration will inevitably be key to resolving data gaps. We challenge the assumption that the peak of shallow-water marine biodiversity is solely centred in the Coral Triangle, and raise awareness of a seemingly forgotten hypothesis promoting a secondary peak of biodiversity in the western Indian Ocean.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2016 CSIRO
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