The evolutionary relationship among Vibrio fischeri isolates obtained from the light organs of Euprymna scolopes collected around Oahu, Hawaii, were examined in this study. Phylogenetic reconstructions based on a concatenation of fragments of four housekeeping loci (recA, mdh, katA, pyrC) identified one monophyletic group ('Group-A') of V. fischeri from Oahu. Group-A V. fischeri strains could also be identified by a single DNA fingerprint type. V. fischeri strains with this fingerprint type had been observed to be at a significantly higher abundance than other strains in the light organs of adult squid collected from Maunalua Bay, Oahu, in 2005. We hypothesized that these previous observations might be related to a growth/survival advantage of the Group-A strains in the Maunalua Bay environments. Competition experiments between Group-A strains and non-Group-A strains demonstrated an advantage of the former in colonizing juvenile Maunalua Bay hosts. Growth and survival assays in Maunalua Bay seawater microcosms revealed a reduced fitness of Group-A strains relative to non-Group-A strains. From these results, we hypothesize that there may exist trade-offs between growth in the light organ and in seawater environments for local V. fischeri strains from Oahu. Alternatively, Group-A V. fischeri may represent an example of rapid, evolutionarily significant, specialization of a horizontally transmitted symbiont to a local host population.