In the context of Caribbean coastal and marine ecosystems alteration, estimating connectivity between reefs and islands and exploring the role of this connectivity in the maintenance of species and ecological functions is urgent to provide guidelines for protecting and managing Caribbean marine biodiversity and resources. The campaign PACOTILLES take places across eleven islands of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two legs. The first focuses on the study of biodiversity and population connectivity of species known as generalist of fringing reefs, while the second is dedicated to the study of biodiversity and population connectivity of species typical of underwater caves of the Lesser Antilles. Using three main stands representative of the benthic compartment, the main objectives of PACOTILLES are. for each taxonomic group
1. Establish a taxonomic inventory throughout the eleven islands where knowledge remains patchy or non-existent
2. Estimate the cryptic diversity
3. Establish reference collections and conduct molecular and metabolomic analysis
4. Complete the population sampling already available in some sites in the Caribbean for genetic analysis of population connectivity and evaluate multiscales populations genetic diversity and structure among sites for these species
5. Contribute to the identification of endemic areas through different methods of biogeographic analyzes. Operations at sea are based solely on underwater SCUBA dives during which underwater visual census, inventories, photographs and sample collection will be made.
Cécile Fauvelot (Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the French West Indies and Guiana)