Species diversity in the cryptic abyssal holothurian Psychropotes longicauda (Echinodermata)

Gubili, Chrysoula; Ross, Elizabeth; Billett, David S.M.; Yool, Andrew ORCID:; Tsairidis, Charalampos; Ruhl, Henry A.; Rogacheva, Antonina; Masson, Doug; Tyler, Paul A.; Hauton, Chris. 2017 Species diversity in the cryptic abyssal holothurian Psychropotes longicauda (Echinodermata). Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 137. 288-296.

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Despite the plethora of studies on swallow-water invertebrates, almost nothing is known about the evolution and population structure of deep-sea species at the global scale. The aim of this study was to assess phylogeographic patterns of a common and cosmopolitan, predominantly abyssal sea cucumber, Psychropotes longicauda, based on samples from the Atlantic, Southern, Indian and Pacific oceans. Sequences of the mitochondrial COI and 16S genes were analysed for 128 specimens of P. longicauda. In addition, temporal genetic variation was investigated at one site, the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, NE Atlantic Ocean over a period of 34 years. Two distinct lineages within the global distribution were identified. The sister clades probably could be classified as separate species based on the observed genetic divergence (>5.0%) and phylogenetic reconstruction with indications of a Southern Hemisphere origin. Moreover, significant population differentiation was detected between the North Atlantic and localities in both the Pacific and Indian oceans. No bathymetric structuring was detected among lineages. Temporal genetic shifts were detected in a time series of samples from 1977 to 2011. Our data confirm the previously suspected cryptic species diversity throughout the wide distributional range previously attributed to the single species P. longicauda. The presence of sympatric species in the North Pacific and Indian Oceans has been underestimated by previous morphological analyses. The differentiation at the population level detected in the main lineages among the four oceans could suggest restricted gene flow despite wide-scale dispersal potential of the species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09670645
Additional Keywords: Deep-sea; Elasipodida; Global distribution; Mitochondrial markers; Biological speciation; Time series shift
Date made live: 05 May 2017 13:48 +0 (UTC)

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