Population genetic structure of two congeneric deep-sea amphipod species from geographically isolated hadal trenches in the Pacific Ocean

H Ritchie, A J Jamieson, S B Piertney

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The deep ocean trenches that comprise the hadal zone have traditionally been perceived as a series of geographically isolated and demographically independent features likely to promote local species endemism through potent natural selection and restricted dispersal. Here we provide the first descriptions of intraspecific population genetic structure among trenches from which the levels of genetic connectivity can be examined explicitly. A total of 109 individuals across two species of Paralicella amphipods (Lysianassoidea: Alicellidae) were genotyped at 16 microsatellite DNA loci. An analysis of molecular variance identified that 22% of the overall genetic variance was attributable to differences between the species and a further 7% was attributable to differences between populations. The two species showed different patterns of genetic structure, with the levels of genetic differentiation between trenches explained by geographical proximity, the geological ages of the trenches, contemporary bottom current patterns and seabed topography around the Pacific Ocean. Overall, the inferred levels of gene flow among trenches was sufficient to reject the hypothesis that they are evolutionarily independent units.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalDeep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the HADEEP projects, funded by the Nippon Foundation, Japan (2009765188), the Natural Environmental Research Council, UK (NE/E007171/1) and the Total Foundation, France. We acknowledge additional support from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) funded by the Scottish Funding Council (Ref: HR09011) and the Leverhulme Trust (to SBP). Additional sea time was supported by NIWA's ‘Impact of Resource Use on Vulnerable Deep-Sea Communities’ project (CO1_0906). We thank the chief scientists, crew and company of the Japanese RV Hakuho-Maru (KH0703 and KH0803), the RV Tansei-Maru (KT-09-03), the RV Kairei (KR0716), the German FS Sonne (SO197 and SO 209) and the New Zealand RV Kaharoa (KAH0190, KAH1109, KAH1202, KAH1301 and KAH1310). From NIWA, we thank Malcolm Clark, Ashley Rowden, Kareen Schnabel, Sadie Mills for logistical support at the NIWA Invertebrate Collection. We also thank Marius Wenzel for helpful comments on manuscript drafts, and Dr. Tammy Horton (NOCS, UK) and Naimh Kilgallen (Australian Museum, Sydney) for identification of amphipod samples.


  • Hadal trenches
  • Amphipoda
  • deep sea ecology
  • Connectivity
  • Gene flow
  • Endemism


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