Octocorallian sea fans are a common and conspicuous component of benthic communities, including shallow- and deep-water habitats; however, the evolutionary history and genetic diversity of this group remain poorly understood. The present study examines the molecular and morphological diversity found among deep-sea representatives of Octocorallia Haeckel, 1866. Molecular analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear loci (octocoral-specific mismatch repair homolog, mtMutS, and 18S rDNA, respectively) are presented for species of Paramuricea Kölliker, 1865 from the northwestern Atlantic, as well as for three other genera of Plexauridae Gray, 1859 (Alaskagorgia Sánchez & Cairns, 2004; Muriceides Studer, 1887; Swiftia Duchassaing & Michelotti, 1864) and two genera of Acanthogorgiidae Gray, 1859 (Acanthogorgia Gray, 1857; Calcigorgia Broch, 1935) from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Genetic variation in Alaskagorgia aleutiana Sánchez & Cairns, 2004, Swiftia pacifica (Nutting, 1912), and Swiftia simplex (Nutting, 1909) seems to correlate with morphology or, rather, current morphological species definitions; however, lack of correlation between morphological and molecular datasets is observed in Paramuricea, Muriceides, Acanthogorgia, and Calcigorgia suggesting that both specific and generic definitions of these taxa are in need of revision. Additionally, the mitochondrial genome arrangement of Paragorgia coralloides Bayer, 1993 is reported and comparisons to other octocorallian mitochondrial genomes suggest that convergence on gene order has occurred within the evolutionary history of the mitochondria in the Octocorallia.
|Advisor:||France, Scott C.|
|Commitee:||Cairns, Stephen D., Neigel, Joseph E., Rosel, Patricia E., Watling, Leslie E.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|Department:||Environmental and Evolutionary Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Morphology, Genetics, Systematic|
|Keywords:||Aleutian islands, Atlantic ocean, Cold-water corals, Mitochondrial genome, Paragorgia coralloides, Paramuricea|
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