High connectivity of animal populations in deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields in the central indian ridge relevant to its geological setting

Girish Beedessee, Hiromi Watanabe, Tomomi Ogura, Suguru Nemoto, Takuya Yahagi, Satoshi Nakagawa, Kentaro Nakamura, Ken Takai, Meera Koonjul, Daniel E.P. Marie

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Dispersal ability plays a key role in the maintenance of species in spatially and temporally discrete niches of deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments. On the basis of population genetic analyses in the eastern Pacific vent fields, dispersal of animals in the mid-oceanic ridge systems generally appears to be constrained by geographical barriers such as trenches, transform faults, and microplates. Four hydrothermal vent fields (the Kairei and Edmond fields near the Rodriguez Triple Junction, and the Dodo and Solitaire fields in the Central Indian Ridge) have been discovered in the mid-oceanic ridge system of the Indian Ocean. In the present study, we monitored the dispersal of four representative animals, Austinograea rodriguezensis, Rimicaris kairei, Alviniconcha and the scaly-foot gastropods, among these vent fields by using indirect methods, i.e., phylogenetic and population genetic analyses. For all four investigated species, we estimated potentially high connectivity, i.e., no genetic difference among the populations present in vent fields located several thousands of kilometers apart; however, the direction of migration appeared to differ among the species, probably because of different dispersal strategies. Comparison of the intermediate-spreading Central Indian Ridge with the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise and slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge revealed the presence of relatively high connectivity in the intermediate- and slow-spreading ridge systems. We propose that geological background, such as spreading rate which determines distance among vent fields, is related to the larval dispersal and population establishment of vent-endemic animal species, and may play an important role in controlling connectivity among populations within a biogeographical province.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81570
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

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