2012 Decker et al. Creative Commons Attribution License
1 : IFREMER, REM EEP LEP, Lab Environm Profond, Plouzane, France.
2 : Univ Algarve, Ctr Marine Sci, CCMAR CIMAR, Faro, Portugal.
Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library Science), 2012-04 , Vol. 7 , N. 4
Vesicomyid bivalves are among the most abundant and diverse symbiotic taxa in chemosynthetic-based ecosystems: more than 100 different vesicomyid species have been described so far. In the present study, we investigated the phylogenetic positioning of recently described vesicomyid species from the Gulf of Guinea and their western Atlantic and Pacific counterparts using mitochondrial DNA sequence data. The maximum-likelihood (ML) tree provided limited support for the recent taxonomic revision of vesicomyids based on morphological criteria; nevertheless, most of the newly sequenced specimens did not cluster with their morphological conspecifics. Moreover, the observed lack of geographic clustering suggests the occurrence of independent radiations followed by worldwide dispersal. Ancestral character state reconstruction showed a significant correlation between the characters “depth” and “habitat” and the reconstructed ML phylogeny suggesting possible recurrent events of ‘stepwise speciation’ from shallow to deep waters in different ocean basins. This is consistent with genus or species bathymetric segregation observed from recent taxonomic studies. Altogether, our results highlight the need for ongoing re-evaluation of the morphological characters used to identify vesicomyid bivalves.