DNA sequence variation of mitochondrial large-subunit rRNA provides support for a two-subclass organization of the Anthozoa (Cnidaria).
ABSTRACT We have sequenced a portion of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene from 29 species of Anthozoa, representing six orders of the subclasses Ceriantipatharia, Hexacorallia, and Octocorallia, with the focus on deep-seamount corals (> 500-m depth). We have detected significant length variation in the gene, with homologous gene fragments ranging from 545 bp in a shallow-water scleractinian coral to 911 bp in a deep-sea antipatharian black coral. The aligned sequences were divided into five regions: three high-identity sequence blocks (HSBs) and two highly variable blocks of insertions/deletions (INDELs). Most of the length variation among species occurred as varying numbers of nucleotides in the two INDELs. Little or no intraspecific sequence variation was detected over spatial scales of up to approximately 150 km. Interspecific sequence variation was lowest among the octocorals and greatest among the ceriantipatharians. Our data indicate that the orders Ceriantharia and Antipatharia are highly divergent, and a phylogenetic reconstruction provides support for the two-subclass system of the class Anthozoa (Hexacorallia and Octocorallia).
Article: Comparing molecular variation to morphological species designations in the deep-sea coral narella reveals new insights into seamount coral ranges.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Recent studies have countered the paradigm of seamount isolation, confounding conservation efforts at a critical time. Efforts to study deep-sea corals, one of the dominant taxa on seamounts, to understand seamount connectivity, are hampered by a lack of taxonomic keys. A prerequisite for connectivity is species overlap. Attempts to better understand species overlap using DNA barcoding methods suggest coral species are widely distributed on seamounts and nearby features. However, no baseline has been established for variation in these genetic markers relative to morphological species designations for deep-sea octocoral families. Here we assess levels of genetic variation in potential octocoral mitochondrial barcode markers relative to thoroughly examined morphological species in the genus Narella. The combination of six markers used here, approximately 3350 bp of the mitochondrial genome, resolved 83% of the morphological species. Our results show that two of the markers, ND2 and NCR1, are not sufficient to resolve genera within Primnoidae, let alone species. Re-evaluation of previous studies of seamount octocorals based on these results suggest that those studies were looking at distributions at a level higher than species, possibly even genus or subfamily. Results for Narella show that using more markers provides haplotypes with relatively narrow depth ranges on the seamounts studied. Given the lack of 100% resolution of species with such a large portion of the mitochondrial genome, we argue that previous genetic studies have not resolved the degree of species overlap on seamounts and that we may not have the power to even test the hypothesis of seamount isolation using mitochondrial markers, let alone refute it. Thus a precautionary approach is advocated in seamount conservation and management, and the potential for depth structuring should be considered.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e45555. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: A time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of the precious corals: reconciling discrepancies in the taxonomic classification and insights into their evolutionary history.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Seamount-associated faunas are often considered highly endemic but isolation and diversification processes leading to such endemism have been poorly documented at those depths. Likewise, species delimitation and phylogenetic studies in deep-sea organisms remain scarce, due to the difficulty in obtaining samples, and sometimes controversial. The phylogenetic relationships within the precious coral family Coralliidae remain largely unexplored and the monophyly of its two constituent genera, Corallium Cuvier and Paracorallium Bayer & Cairns, has not been resolved. As traditionally recognized, the diversity of colonial forms among the various species correlates with the diversity in shape of their supporting axis, but the phylogenetic significance of these characters remains to be tested. We thus used mitochondrial sequence data to evaluate the monophyly of Corallium and Paracorallium and the species boundaries for nearly all named taxa in the family. Species from across the coralliid range, including material from Antarctica, Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, Tasmania, the eastern Pacific and the western Atlantic were examined. RESULTS: The concatenated analysis of five mitochondrial regions (COI, 16S rRNA, ND2, and ND3-ND6) recovered two major coralliid clades. One clade is composed of two subgroups, the first including Corallium rubrum, the type species of the genus, together with a small group of Paracorallium species (P. japonicum and P. tortuosum) and C. medea (clade I-A); the other subgroup includes a poorly-resolved assemblage of six Corallium species (C. abyssale, C. ducale, C. imperiale, C. laauense, C. niobe, and C. sulcatum; clade I-B). The second major clade is well resolved and includes species of Corallium and Paracorallium (C. elatius, C. kishinouyei, C. konojoi, C. niveum, C. secundum, Corallium sp., Paracorallium nix, Paracorallium thrinax and Paracorallium spp.). A traditional taxonomic study of this clade delineated 11 morphospecies that were congruent with the general mixed Yule-coalescent (GMYC) model. A multilocus species-tree approach also identified the same two well-supported clades, being Clade I-B more recent in the species tree (18.0-15.9 mya) than in the gene tree (35.2-15.9 mya). In contrast, the diversification times for clade-II were more ancient in the species tree (136.4-41.7 mya) than in the gene tree (66.3-16.9 mya). CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide no support for the taxonomic status of the two currently recognized genera in the family Coralliidae. Given that Paracorallium species were all nested within Corallium, we recognize the coralliid genus, Corallium, which includes the type species of the family, and thus consider Paracorallium a junior synonym of Corallium. We propose the use of the genus Hemicorallium Gray for clade I-B (species with long rod sclerites, cylindrical autozooids and smooth axis). Species delimitation in clade I-B remains unclear and the molecular resolution for Coralliidae species is inconsistent in the two main clades. Some species have wide distributions, recent diversification times and low mtDNA divergence whereas other species exhibit narrower allopatric distributions, older diversification times and greater levels of mtDNA resolution.BMC Evolutionary Biology 12/2012; 12(1):246. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cnidaria (corals, sea anemones, hydroids, jellyfish) is a phylum of relatively simple aquatic animals characterized by the presence of the cnidocyst: a cell containing a giant capsular organelle with an eversible tubule (cnida). Species within Cnidaria have life cycles that involve one or both of the two distinct body forms, a typically benthic polyp, which may or may not be colonial, and a typically pelagic mostly solitary medusa. The currently accepted taxonomic scheme subdivides Cnidaria into two main assemblages: Anthozoa (Hexacorallia + Octocorallia) -- cnidarians with a reproductive polyp and the absence of a medusa stage -- and Medusozoa (Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Staurozoa) -- cnidarians that usually possess a reproductive medusa stage. Hypothesized relationships among these taxa greatly impact interpretations of cnidarian character evolution. RESULTS: We expanded the sampling of cnidarian mitochondrial genomes, particularly from Medusozoa, to reevaluate phylogenetic relationships within Cnidaria. Our phylogenetic analyses based on a mitochogenomic dataset support many prior hypotheses, including monophyly of Hexacorallia, Octocorallia, Medusozoa, Cubozoa, Staurozoa, Hydrozoa, Carybdeida, Chirodropida, and Hydroidolina, but reject the monophyly of Anthozoa, indicating that the Octocorallia + Medusozoa relationship is not the result of sampling bias, as proposed earlier. Further, our analyses contradict Scyphozoa [Discomedusae + Coronatae], Acraspeda [Cubozoa + Scyphozoa], as well as the hypothesis that Staurozoa is the sister group to all the other medusozoans. CONCLUSIONS: Cnidarian mitochondrial genomic data contain phylogenetic signal informative for understanding the evolutionary history of this phylum. Mitogenome-based phylogenies, which reject the monophyly of Anthozoa, provide further evidence for the polyp-first hypothesis. By rejecting the traditional Acraspeda and Scyphozoa hypotheses, these analyses suggest that the shared morphological characters in these groups are plesiomorphies, originated in the branch leading to Medusozoa. The expansion of mitogenomic data along with improvements in phylogenetic inference methods and use of additional nuclear markers will further enhance our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships and character evolution within Cnidaria.BMC Evolutionary Biology 01/2013; 13(1):5. · 3.52 Impact Factor