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  1. Vermeij, Geerat J. (Ed.)
    Continental margins host methane seeps, animal falls and wood falls, with chemosynthetic communities that may share or exchange species. The goal of this study was to examine the existence and nature of linkages among chemosynthesis-based ecosystems by deploying organic fall mimics (bone and wood) alongside defaunated carbonate rocks within high and lesser levels of seepage activity for 7.4 years. We compared community composition, density, and trophic structure of invertebrates on these hard substrates at active methane seepage and transition (less seepage) sites at Mound 12 at ~1,000 m depth, a methane seep off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. At transition sites, the community composition on wood and bone was characteristic of natural wood- and whale-fall community composition, which rely on decay of the organic substrates. However, at active sites, seepage activity modified the relationship between fauna and substrate, seepage activity had a stronger effect in defining and homogenizing these communities and they depend less on organic decay. In contrast to community structure, macrofaunal trophic niche overlap between substrates, based on standard ellipse areas, was greater at transition sites than at active sites, except between rock and wood. Our observations suggest that whale- and wood-fall substrates can function as steppingmore »stones for seep fauna even at later successional stages, providing hard substrate for attachment and chemosynthetic food.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 20, 2023
  2. Stomatopoda, commonly known as mantis shrimps, are notable for their enlarged second maxillipeds encompassing the raptorial claw. The form of the claw can be used to divide them into two basic groups: smashers and spearers. Previous phylogenetic studies of Stomatopoda have focused on morphology or a few genes, though there have been whole mitochondrial genomes published for 15 members of Stomatopoda. However, the sampling has been somewhat limited with key taxa not included. Here, nine additional stomatopod mitochondrial genomes were generated and combined with the other available mitogenomes for a phylogenetic analysis. We used the 13 protein coding genes, as well as 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA genes, and included nuclear 18S rRNA gene sequences. Different rooting options were used for the analyses: (1) single and multiple outgroups from various eumalocostracan relatives and (2) a stomatopod-only dataset, with Hemisquilla californiensis used to root the topologies, based on the current hypothesis that Hemisquilla is the sister group to the rest of Stomatopoda. The eumalocostracan-rooted analyses all showed H. californiensis nested within Stomatopoda, raising doubts as to previous hypotheses as to its placement. Allowing for the rooting difference, the H. californiensis outgroup datasets had the same tree topology as the eumalocostracan outgroup datasetsmore »with slight variation at poorly supported nodes. Of the major taxonomic groupings sampled to date, Squilloidea was generally found to be monophyletic while Gonodactyloidea was not. The position of H. californiensis was found inside its superfamily, Gonodactyloidea, and grouped in a weakly supported clade containing Odontodactylus havanensis and Lysiosquillina maculata for the eumalocostracan-rooted datasets. An ancestral state reconstruction was performed on the raptorial claw form and provides support that spearing is the ancestral state for extant Stomatopoda, with smashing evolving subsequently one or more times.« less
  3. Echinoids are key components of modern marine ecosystems. Despite a remarkable fossil record, the emergence of their crown group is documented by few specimens of unclear affinities, rendering their early history uncertain. The origin of sand dollars, one of its most distinctive clades, is also unclear due to an unstable phylogenetic context. We employ 18 novel genomes and transcriptomes to build a phylogenomic dataset with a near-complete sampling of major lineages. With it, we revise the phylogeny and divergence times of echinoids, and place their history within the broader context of echinoderm evolution. We also introduce the concept of a chronospace – a multidimensional representation of node ages – and use it to explore methodological decisions involved in time calibrating phylogenies. We find the choice of clock model to have the strongest impact on divergence times, while the use of site-heterogeneous models and alternative node prior distributions show minimal effects. The choice of loci has an intermediate impact, affecting mostly deep Paleozoic nodes, for which clock-like genes recover dates more congruent with fossil evidence. Our results reveal that crown group echinoids originated in the Permian and diversified rapidly in the Triassic, despite the relative lack of fossil evidence for thismore »early diversification. We also clarify the relationships between sand dollars and their close relatives and confidently date their origins to the Cretaceous, implying ghost ranges spanning approximately 50 million years, a remarkable discrepancy with their rich fossil record.« less
  4. The bathyal serpulid Laminatubus alvini ten Hove & Zibrowius, 1986 was described from the periphery of hydrothermal vents of the Galapagos Rift and has been recorded from other vent communities of the East Pacific Rise (EPR). Here we assessed the biodiversity of serpulids collected from eastern Pacific hydrothermal vents and methane seeps using DNA sequences and morphology. Laminatubus alvini showed little genetic variation over a wide geographic range from the Alarcon Rise vents in southern Gulf of California (~23°N), to at least a point at 38°S on the EPR. Specimens from several methane seeps off Costa Rica and the Gulf of California (Mexico) differed markedly from those of Laminatubus alvini on DNA sequence data and in having seven thoracic chaetigers and lacking Spirobranchus-type special collar chaetae, thus fitting the diagnosis of Neovermilia. However, phylogenetic analysis of molecular data showed that L. alvini and the seep specimens form a well-supported clade. Moreover, among the seep specimens there was minimally a ~7% distance in mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences between a shallow-water (1000 m) seep clade restricted to Costa Rica and a deep-water clade (1800 m) from Costa Rica to Gulf of California. We describe the seep taxa here as morphologically indistinguishable L.more »paulbrooksi n. sp. and L. joycebrooksae n. sp.« less
  5. As biodiversity loss accelerates globally, understanding environmental influence over biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships becomes crucial for ecosystem management. Theory suggests that resource supply affects the shape of BEF relationships, but this awaits detailed investigation in marine ecosystems. Here, we use deep-sea chemosynthetic methane seeps and surrounding sediments as natural laboratories in which to contrast relationships between BEF proxies along with a gradient of trophic resource availability (higher resource methane seep, to lower resource photosynthetically fuelled deep-sea habitats). We determined sediment fauna taxonomic and functional trait biodiversity, and quantified bioturbation potential (BPc), calcification degree, standing stock and density as ecosystem functioning proxies. Relationships were strongly unimodal in chemosynthetic seep habitats, but were undetectable in transitional ‘chemotone’ habitats and photosynthetically dependent deep-sea habitats. In seep habitats, ecosystem functioning proxies peaked below maximum biodiversity, perhaps suggesting that a small number of specialized species are important in shaping this relationship. This suggests that absolute biodiversity is not a good metric of ecosystem ‘value’ at methane seeps, and that these deep-sea environments may require special management to maintain ecosystem functioning under human disturbance. We promote further investigation of BEF relationships in non-traditional resource environments and emphasize that deep-sea conservation should consider ‘functioning hotspots' alongside biodiversitymore »hotspots.« less
  6. Polynoidae Kinberg, 1856 has five branchiate genera: Branchipolynoe Pettibone, 1984, Branchinotogluma Pettibone, 1985, Branchiplicatus Pettibone, 1985, Peinaleopolynoe Desbruyères & Laubier, 1988, and Thermopolynoe Miura, 1994, all native to deep-sea, chemosynthetic-based habitats. Of these, Peinaleopolynoe has two accepted species; Peinaleopolynoe sillardi Desbruyères & Laubier, 1988 (Atlantic Ocean) and Peinaleopolynoe santacatalina Pettibone, 1993 (East Pacific Ocean). The goal of this study was to assess the phylogenetic position of Peinaleopolynoe , utilizing DNA sequences from a broad sampling of deep-sea polynoids. Representatives from all five branchiate genera were included, several species of which were sampled from near the type localities; Branchinotogluma sandersi Pettibone, 1985 from the Galápagos Rift (E/V “Nautilus”); Peinaleopolynoe sillardi from organic remains in the Atlantic Ocean; Peinaleopolynoe santacatalina from a whalefall off southern California (R/V “Western Flyer”) and Thermopolynoe branchiata Miura, 1994 from Lau Back-Arc Basin in the western Pacific (R/V “Melville”). Phylogenetic analyses were conducted using mitochondrial (COI, 16S rRNA, and CytB) and nuclear (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, and H3) genes. The analyses revealed four new Peinaleopolynoe species from the Pacific Ocean that are formally described here: Peinaleopolynoe orphanae Hatch & Rouse, sp. nov. , type locality Pescadero Basin in the Gulf of California, Mexico (R/V “Western Flyer”); Peinaleopolynoemore »elvisi Hatch & Rouse, sp. nov. and Peinaleopolynoe goffrediae Hatch & Rouse, sp. nov. , both with a type locality in Monterey Canyon off California (R/V “Western Flyer”) and Peinaleopolynoe mineoi Hatch & Rouse, sp. nov. from Costa Rica methane seeps (R/V “Falkor”). In addition to DNA sequence data, the monophyly of Peinaleopolynoe is supported by the presence of ventral papillae on segments 12–15. The results also demonstrated the paraphyly of Branchinotogluma and Lepidonotopodium Pettibone, 1983 and taxonomic revision of these genera is required. We apply the subfamily name Lepidonotopodinae Pettibone 1983, for the clade comprised of Branchipolynoe , Branchinotogluma , Bathykurila , Branchiplicatus , Lepidonotopodium , Levensteiniella Pettibone, 1985, Thermopolynoe , and Peinaleopolynoe .« less