Dr. Soraya Niisato, a researcher at the Marine Genomics Unit of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), deciphered the genomes of hundreds of corals collected from various parts of the Ryukyu Islands and analyzed the coral population structure with high accuracy.

 Coral larvae were carried far away by ocean currents, and it was not known in detail where they would go.In addition, information on how coral reefs around Okinawa were formed and where they are the source of coral is very important for the protection of coral reefs.Coral reefs are in a critical situation due to recent environmental changes (global warming, etc.), and there was also the problem of being hit hard on a global scale (the 1998 bleaching phenomenon).

 By genome analysis, corals could be classified into four groups (Okinawa main island, Kerama Islands, Yaeyama south and north).We also found that the four groups had less coral traffic than expected.It is possible that Koyubi Midoriishi on the main island of Okinawa is strongly influenced by the Yaeyama Islands, and that the Yaeyama Islands and the main island of Okinawa have joined the Kerama Islands in the past.Koyubimidoriishi in the Kerama Islands has a higher genetic diversity than others, and historically it may be a "coral crucible".

 This study revealed that coral larvae are less dispersed than previously thought, and it is believed that corals that have been restored after being hit have also revived themselves.It is expected that this research will be useful for the conservation of coral reefs in Okinawa, and a survey is awaited on how the spread of corals around the world other than Okinawa Prefecture is formed.

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