Population structure of two deep sea tubeworms, Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi, from the hydrocarbon seeps of the Gulf of Mexico

Erin R. McMullin, Kimberlyn Nelson, Charles R. Fisher, Stephen W. Schaeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vestimentiferan tubeworms are a group of large sessile marine polychaete annelids (family Siboglinidae) found in the regions of hydrothermal venting or seepage of the reduced chemical hydrogen sulfide. Hydrocarbon seeps on the Louisiana Slope of the Gulf of Mexico support large communities of the co-occurring vestimentiferan species Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi. These sessile species have the opportunity to disperse between the patchy sites of active seepage on the seafloor during a planktonic larval stage. However, it is unclear whether dispersal occurs at a local or global scale. Four (L. luymesi) and seven (S. jonesi) microsatellite loci were used to test for population substructure among ten hydrocarbon seep sites on the Louisiana Slope. Both species showed high levels of allelic diversity, averaging 18.5 (L. luymesi) and 22 (S. jonesi) alleles/locus, respectively, and high observed heterozygosity at all microsatellite loci (0.71-0.9 in L. luymesi, 0.27-0.84 in S. jonesi). The two species showed a significant deficiency in heterozygotes compared to that predicted under the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. L. luymesi showed a small but significant amount of population structure, with a positive correlation between genetic and geographic distance among the sample sites spanning 540. km. S. jonesi, in contrast, showed no evidence for isolation by distance, but did show a significant genetic difference between aggregations of different ages. These results suggest that these two species differ in how larvae are able to colonize new seep sites through space (L. luymesi) and though time (S. jonesi).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1509
Number of pages11
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Volume57
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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