[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Astrophorida (Porifera, Demospongiae(p)) is geographically and bathymetrically widely distributed. Systema Porifera currently includes five families in this order: Ancorinidae, Calthropellidae, Geodiidae, Pachastrellidae and Thrombidae. To date, molecular phylogenetic studies including Astrophorida species are scarce and offer limited sampling. Phylogenetic relationships within this order are therefore for the most part unknown and hypotheses based on morphology largely untested. Astrophorida taxa have very diverse spicule sets that make them a model of choice to investigate spicule evolution.
With a sampling of 153 specimens (9 families, 29 genera, 89 species) covering the deep- and shallow-waters worldwide, this work presents the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the Astrophorida, using a cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene partial sequence and the 5' end terminal part of the 28S rDNA gene (C1-D2 domains). The resulting tree suggested that i) the Astrophorida included some lithistid families and some Alectonidae species, ii) the sub-orders Euastrophorida and Streptosclerophorida were both polyphyletic, iii) the Geodiidae, the Ancorinidae and the Pachastrellidae were not monophyletic, iv) the Calthropellidae was part of the Geodiidae clade (Calthropella at least), and finally that v) many genera were polyphyletic (Ecionemia, Erylus, Poecillastra, Penares, Rhabdastrella, Stelletta and Vulcanella).
The Astrophorida is a larger order than previously considered, comprising ca. 820 species. Based on these results, we propose new classifications for the Astrophorida using both the classical rank-based nomenclature (i.e., Linnaean classification) and the phylogenetic nomenclature following the PhyloCode, independent of taxonomic rank. A key to the Astrophorida families, sub-families and genera incertae sedis is also included. Incongruences between our molecular tree and the current classification can be explained by the banality of convergent evolution and secondary loss in spicule evolution. These processes have taken place many times, in all the major clades, for megascleres and microscleres.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18318. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small and cryptic sponges associated with cold-water coral reefs are particularly numerous and challenging to identify, but their ecological and biochemical importance is likely to compete with megabenthic specimens.
Here we use a combination of the standard M1M6 and I3M11 partitions of the COI fragment, partial rDNA 28S sequences and morphology to delineate small encrusting Plocamionida species. In total, 46 specimens were retrieved from seven shallow to deep-water coral locations, crossing 3,000 km along the European margins. Our work provides evidence that the Plocamionida ambigua f. tylotata and f. grandichelata can be considered valid species, whereas Plocamionida ambigua f. tornata corresponds to the species P. ambigua. Within the monophyletic group of Plocamionida, P. microcionides is shown as really divergent from the other taxa, and four putative new Plocamionida species are suggested.
This study shows that the use of molecular and morphological information in an integrative approach is a powerful tool for the identification of sponge species, and suggests that an under-estimated biodiversity of sponges occurs in cold-water coral reefs.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(2):e16533. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coral reefs constitute the most diverse ecosystem of the marine realm and an increasing number of studies are focusing on coral species boundaries, distribution, and on processes that control species ranges. However, less attention has been paid to coral associated species. Deep-sea sponges dominate cold-water coral ecosystems, but virtually nothing is known about their molecular diversity. Moreover, species boundaries based on morphology may sometimes be inadequate, since sponges have few diagnostic characters. In this study, we investigated the molecular diversity within the genus Hexadella (Porifera, Demospongiae, Verongida, Ianthellidae) from the European shallow-water environment to the deep-sea coral ecosystems. Three molecular markers were used: one mitochondrial (COI) and two nuclear gene fragments (28S rDNA and the ATPS intron). Phylogenetic analyses revealed deeply divergent deep-sea clades congruent across the mitochondrial and nuclear markers. One clade contained specimens from the Irish, the Scottish, and the Norwegian margins and the Greenland Sea (Hexadella dedritifera) while another clade contained specimens from the Ionian Sea, the Bay of Biscay, and the Irish margin (H. cf. dedritifera). Moreover, these deeply divergent deep-sea clades showed a wide distribution suggesting a connection between the reefs. The results also point to the existence of a new deep-sea species (Hexadella sp.) in the Mediterranean Sea and of a cryptic shallow-water species (Hexadella cf. pruvoti) in the Gorringe Bank. In contrast, low genetic differentiation between H. cf. dedritifera and H. pruvoti from the Mediterranean Sea was observed. All Hexadella racovitzai specimens from the Mediterranean Sea (shallow and deep) to the Atlantic formed a monophyletic group.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 04/2010; 56(1):104-14. · 4.07 Impact Factor