Molecular and morphological identification of hydrothermal vent larvae
|Scanning electron micrograph of a Clypeosectus delectus juvenile with retained larval shell (protoconch I). By imaging juveniles, we can assign species to larval shell morphology. However, not all species have distinct larval shell morphology. (D.K. Poehls and S.W. Mills)|
L.S. Mullineaux, S.W. Mills, and T.M. Shank
Studies to understand the role of dispersal in population and community dynamics and gene flow at hydrothermal vents have been limited by the inability to identify planktonic larvae to the species level. We develop an efficient and economical method for identifying vent gastropod larvae. We use a staged approach starting with visual examination of larval shell morphology, followed when necessary by molecular genetic analysis. To increase the ability of this approach to identify vent gastropod larvae, we expand the number of species with morphological descriptions of the larval protoconch and expand the database of sequences for vent gastropods. We also develop restriction fragment length polymorphism assays to identify morphologically indistinguishable species of peltospirids and Lepetodrilus. The approach was applied to identify larvae collected by a plankton pump taken near a vent community and egg capsules collected on basalt within a vent community.
Adams, D.K., S.W. Mills, T.M. Shank, and L.S. Mullineaux. 2010. Expanding dispersal studies at hydrothermal vents through species identification of cryptic larval forms. Marine Biology. doi:10.1007/s00227-009-1386-8