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Extensive genetic diversity and endemism across the global range of the oceanic copepod Pleuromamma abdominalis

Junya Hirai, Atsushi Tsuda, Erica Goetze
Progress in oceanography 2015 v.138 pp. 77-90
Copepoda, adults, basins, cytochrome-c oxidase, females, genes, genetic distance, genetic variation, habitats, indigenous species, mitochondria, oceans, phylogeny, ribosomal RNA, sequence diversity, sympatry, zooplankton, Atlantic Ocean
Many oceanic zooplankton species have been described as cosmopolitan in distribution; however, recent molecular work has detected species complexity with highly divergent genetic lineages within several of these taxa. To further resolve the species complexity within these ecologically-important and widespread species, we performed both molecular and morphological analyses of the oceanic copepod Pleuromamma abdominalis using a comprehensive collection of material from 944 individuals collected at 46 sites across the global ocean. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) sequences detected eighteen divergent evolutionary lineages within P. abdominalis, with an additional four singleton specimens that were also genetically divergent. Two phylogenetically distinct groups, PLAB1 and PLAB2, were supported by concordant sequence variation in the nuclear large subunit ribosomal RNA gene (nLSU). Within PLAB1, two mtCOI clades, 1a-1 and 1b-1 were observed, and each clade contained geographically distinct sub-clades 1a-2 and 1b-2. PLAB2 was composed of sixteen well-supported mtCOI clades (2a–2p) as well as four singletons. High genetic divergence among the mtCOI lineages within both PLAB1 and PLAB2, ranging between 9.2–11.2% and 4.3–18.9% K2P distances respectively, suggests the presence of additional species within these groups. Significant differences were observed in the presence and shape of antennule spines of adult females between sympatric clades with genetic distances greater than 5.7–7.0% (K2P). The biogeographic distributions of mtCOI clades indicated greater specialization to particular oceanographic provinces than observed in the nominal species P. abdominalis, with mtCOI clades ranging from antitropical in subtropical waters of all three ocean basins (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian; clade 1b-1 and 2a) to taxa that are endemic to a particular ocean region, for example restricted to equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean (clade 1b-2 and 2b). We hypothesize that many of these mtCOI clades are likely distinct, and currently undescribed species. The well-known high dominance of P. abdominalis across a range of pelagic habitats may occur as a spatial composite of genetically-distinct species with more restricted distributions and greater ecological specialization to particular marine habitats than was previously recognized.