Determining gene flow and the influence of selection across the equatorial barrier of the East Pacific Rise in the tube-dwelling polychaete Alvinella pompejana.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Comparative phylogeography recently performed on the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) gene from seven deep-sea vent species suggested that the East Pacific Rise fauna has undergone a vicariant event with the emergence of a north/south physical barrier at the Equator 1-2 Mya. Within this specialised fauna, the tube-dwelling polychaete Alvinella pompejana showed reciprocal monophyly at mtCOI on each side of the Equator (9 degrees 50'N/7 degrees 25'S), suggesting potential, ongoing allopatric speciation. However, the development of a barrier to gene flow is a long and complex process. Secondary contact between previously isolated populations can occur when physical isolation has not persisted long enough to result in reproductive isolation between genetically divergent lineages, potentially leading to hybridisation and subsequent allelic introgression. The present study evaluates the strength of the equatorial barrier to gene flow and tests for potential secondary contact zones between A. pompejana populations by comparing the mtCOI gene with nuclear genes. RESULTS:Allozyme frequencies and the analysis of nucleotide polymorphisms at three nuclear loci confirmed the north/south genetic differentiation of Alvinella pompejana populations along the East Pacific Rise. Migration was oriented north-to-south with a moderate allelic introgression between the two geographic groups over a narrow geographic range just south of the barrier. Multilocus analysis also indicated that southern populations have undergone demographic expansion as previously suggested by a multispecies approach. A strong shift in allozyme frequencies together with a high level of divergence between alleles and a low number of 'hybrid' individuals were observed between the northern and southern groups using the phosphoglucomutase gene. In contrast, the S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase gene exhibited reduced diversity and a lack of population differentiation possibly due to a selective sweep or hitch-hiking. CONCLUSIONS:The equatorial barrier leading to the separation of East Pacific Rise vent fauna into two distinct geographic groups is still permeable to migration, with a probable north-to-south migration route for A. pompejana. This separation also coincides with demographic expansion in the southern East Pacific Rise. Our results suggest that allopatry resulting from ridge offsetting is a common mechanism of speciation for deep-sea hydrothermal vent organisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Equator and Easter Microplate regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean exhibit geomorphological and hydrological features that create barriers to dispersal for a number of animals associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vent habitats. This study examined effects of these boundaries on geographical subdivision of the vent polychaete Alvinella pompejana. DNA sequences from one mitochondrial and eleven nuclear genes were examined in samples collected from ten vent localities that comprise the species' known range from 23°N latitude on the East Pacific Rise to 38°S latitude on the Pacific Antarctic Ridge. RESULTS:Multi-locus genotypes inferred from these sequences clustered the individual worms into three metapopulation segments - the northern East Pacific Rise (NEPR), southern East Pacific Rise (SEPR), and northeastern Pacific Antarctic Ridge (PAR) - separated by the Equator and Easter Microplate boundaries. Genetic diversity estimators were negatively correlated with tectonic spreading rates. Application of the isolation-with-migration (IMa2) model provided information about divergence times and demographic parameters. The PAR and NEPR metapopulation segments were estimated to have split roughly 4.20 million years ago (Mya) (2.42-33.42 Mya, 95 % highest posterior density, (HPD)), followed by splitting of the SEPR and NEPR segments about 0.79 Mya (0.07-6.67 Mya, 95 % HPD). Estimates of gene flow between the neighboring regions were mostly low (2?Nm?<?1). Estimates of effective population size decreased with southern latitudes: NEPR?>?SEPR?>?PAR. CONCLUSIONS:Highly effective dispersal capabilities allow A. pompejana to overcome the temporal instability and intermittent distribution of active hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Consequently, the species exhibits very high levels of genetic diversity compared with many co-distributed vent annelids and mollusks. Nonetheless, its levels of genetic diversity in partially isolated populations are inversely correlated with tectonic spreading rates. As for many other vent taxa, this pioneering colonizer is similarly affected by local rates of habitat turnover and by major dispersal filters associated with the Equator and the Easter Microplate region.
Project description:Since the first discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the Galápagos Rift in 1977, numerous vent sites and endemic faunal assemblages have been found along mid-ocean ridges and back-arc basins at low to mid latitudes. These discoveries have suggested the existence of separate biogeographic provinces in the Atlantic and the North West Pacific, the existence of a province including the South West Pacific and Indian Ocean, and a separation of the North East Pacific, North East Pacific Rise, and South East Pacific Rise. The Southern Ocean is known to be a region of high deep-sea species diversity and centre of origin for the global deep-sea fauna. It has also been proposed as a gateway connecting hydrothermal vents in different oceans but is little explored because of extreme conditions. Since 2009 we have explored two segments of the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) in the Southern Ocean using a remotely operated vehicle. In each segment we located deep-sea hydrothermal vents hosting high-temperature black smokers up to 382.8°C and diffuse venting. The chemosynthetic ecosystems hosted by these vents are dominated by a new yeti crab (Kiwa n. sp.), stalked barnacles, limpets, peltospiroid gastropods, anemones, and a predatory sea star. Taxa abundant in vent ecosystems in other oceans, including polychaete worms (Siboglinidae), bathymodiolid mussels, and alvinocaridid shrimps, are absent from the ESR vents. These groups, except the Siboglinidae, possess planktotrophic larvae, rare in Antarctic marine invertebrates, suggesting that the environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean may act as a dispersal filter for vent taxa. Evidence from the distinctive fauna, the unique community structure, and multivariate analyses suggest that the Antarctic vent ecosystems represent a new vent biogeographic province. However, multivariate analyses of species present at the ESR and at other deep-sea hydrothermal vents globally indicate that vent biogeography is more complex than previously recognised.
Project description:A highly integrated, morphologically diverse bacterial community is associated with the dorsal surface of Alvinella pompejana, a polychaetous annelid that inhabits active high-temperature deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites along the East Pacific Rise (EPR). Analysis of a previously prepared bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) library identified a spirochete most closely related to an endosymbiont of the oligochete Olavius loisae. This spirochete phylotype (spirochete A) comprised only 2.2% of the 16S rDNA clone library but appeared to be much more dominant when the same sample was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism procedure (12 to 18%). PCR amplification of the community with spirochete-specific primers used in conjunction with DGGE analysis identified two spirochete phylotypes. The first spirochete was identical to spirochete A but was present in only one A. pompejana specimen. The second spirochete (spirochete B) was 84.5% similar to spirochete A and, more interestingly, was present in the epibiont communities of all of the A. pompejana specimens sampled throughout the geographic range of the worm (13 degrees N to 32 degrees S along the EPR). The sequence variation of the spirochete B phylotype was less than 3% for the range of A. pompejana specimens tested, suggesting that a single spirochete species was present in the A. pompejana epibiotic community. Additional analysis of the environments surrounding the worm revealed that spirochetes are a ubiquitous component of high-temperature vents and may play an important role in this unique ecosystem.
Project description:Alvinella pompejana is a polychaetous annelid that inhabits active deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites along the East Pacific Rise, where it colonizes the walls of actively venting high-temperature chimneys. An abundant, morphologically diverse epibiotic microflora is associated with the worm's dorsal integument, with a highly integrated filamentous morphotype clearly dominating the microbial biomass. It has been suggested that this bacterial population participates in either the nutrition of the worm or in detoxification of the worm's immediate environment. The primary goal of this study was to phylogenetically characterize selected epibionts through the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. Nucleic acids were extracted from bacteria collected from the dorsal surface of A. pompejana. 16S rRNA genes were amplified with universal bacterial primers by the PCR. These genes were subsequently cloned, and the resulting clone library was screened by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis to identify distinct clone types. The restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis identified 32 different clone families in the library. Four of these families were clearly dominant, representing more than 65% of the library. Representatives from the four most abundant clone families were chosen for complete 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. These gene sequences were analyzed by a variety of phylogenetic inference methods and found to be related to the newly established epsilon subdivision of the division Proteobacteria. Secondary structural model comparisons and comparisons of established signature base positions in the 16S rRNA confirmed the placement of the Alvinella clones in the epsilon subdivision of the Proteobacteria.
Project description:The deep-sea polychaete Alvinella pompejana colonizes tubes on the sides of black smoker chimneys along the East Pacific Rise. A diverse, yet phylogenetically constrained episymbiotic community is obligately associated with its dorsal surface. The morphologically and phylogenetically distinct dominant episymbionts have not yet been cultured, and there are no clearly defined roles for these bacteria in this symbiosis. A large insert fosmid library was screened for the presence of the two dominant phylotypes. Two fosmids, 35.2 and 38 kb, containing phylotype-specific 16S ribosomal DNA sequences were fully sequenced. Each fosmid had a gene encoding ATP citrate lyase, a key enzyme in the reverse tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle, a CO(2) fixation pathway. A selection of episymbiont communities from various geographic locations and vent sites were screened for the presence, diversity, and expression (via reverse transcription-PCR) of the ATP citrate lyase gene. Our results indicate that the ATP citrate lyase gene is not only a consistent presence in these episymbiont communities but is also expressed. Phylogenetically distinct forms of ATP citrate lyase were also found associated with and expressed by bacteria extracted from the tubes of A. pompejana. Utilizing PCR with degenerate primers based on a second key enzyme in the rTCA cycle, 2-oxoglutarate:acceptor oxidoreductase, we also demonstrated the persistent presence and expression of this gene in the episymbiont community. Our results suggest that members of both the episymbiont and the surrounding free-living communities display a chemolithoautotrophic form of growth and therefore contribute fixed carbon to other organisms in the vent community.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Alvinella pompejana is an annelid worm that inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites in the Pacific Ocean. Living at a depth of approximately 2500 meters, these worms experience extreme environmental conditions, including high temperature and pressure as well as high levels of sulfide and heavy metals. A. pompejana is one of the most thermotolerant metazoans, making this animal a subject of great interest for studies of eukaryotic thermoadaptation. RESULTS:In order to complement existing EST resources we performed deep sequencing of the A. pompejana transcriptome. We identified several thousand novel protein-coding transcripts, nearly doubling the sequence data for this annelid. We then performed an extensive survey of previously established prokaryotic thermoadaptation measures to search for global signals of thermoadaptation in A. pompejana in comparison with mesophilic eukaryotes. In an orthologous set of 457 proteins, we found that the best indicator of thermoadaptation was the difference in frequency of charged versus polar residues (CvP-bias), which was highest in A. pompejana. CvP-bias robustly distinguished prokaryotic thermophiles from prokaryotic mesophiles, as well as the thermophilic fungus Chaetomium thermophilum from mesophilic eukaryotes. Experimental values for thermophilic proteins supported higher CvP-bias as a measure of thermal stability when compared to their mesophilic orthologs. Proteome-wide mean CvP-bias also correlated with the body temperatures of homeothermic birds and mammals. CONCLUSIONS:Our work extends the transcriptome resources for A. pompejana and identifies the CvP-bias as a robust and widely applicable measure of eukaryotic thermoadaptation.
Project description:Hydrothermal vent ecosystems support diverse life forms, many of which rely on symbiotic associations to perform functions integral to survival in these extreme physicochemical environments. Epsilonproteobacteria, found free-living and in intimate associations with vent invertebrates, are the predominant vent-associated microorganisms. The vent-associated polychaete worm, Alvinella pompejana, is host to a visibly dense fleece of episymbionts on its dorsal surface. The episymbionts are a multispecies consortium of Epsilonproteobacteria present as a biofilm. We unraveled details of these enigmatic, uncultivated episymbionts using environmental genome sequencing. They harbor wide-ranging adaptive traits that include high levels of strain variability analogous to Epsilonproteobacteria pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori, metabolic diversity of free-living bacteria, and numerous orthologs of proteins that we hypothesize are each optimally adapted to specific temperature ranges within the 10-65 degrees C fluctuations characteristic of the A. pompejana habitat. This strategic combination enables the consortium to thrive under diverse thermal and chemical regimes. The episymbionts are metabolically tuned for growth in hydrothermal vent ecosystems with genes encoding the complete rTCA cycle, sulfur oxidation, and denitrification; in addition, the episymbiont metagenome also encodes capacity for heterotrophic and aerobic metabolisms. Analysis of the environmental genome suggests that A. pompejana may benefit from the episymbionts serving as a stable source of food and vitamins. The success of Epsilonproteobacteria as episymbionts in hydrothermal vent ecosystems is a product of adaptive capabilities, broad metabolic capacity, strain variance, and virulent traits in common with pathogens.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Alvinella pompejana is a representative of Annelids, a key phylum for evo-devo studies that is still poorly studied at the sequence level. A. pompejana inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vents and is currently known as one of the most thermotolerant Eukaryotes in marine environments, withstanding the largest known chemical and thermal ranges (from 5 to 105°C). This tube-dwelling worm forms dense colonies on the surface of hydrothermal chimneys and can withstand long periods of hypo/anoxia and long phases of exposure to hydrogen sulphides. A. pompejana specifically inhabits chimney walls of hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. To survive, Alvinella has developed numerous adaptations at the physiological and molecular levels, such as an increase in the thermostability of proteins and protein complexes. It represents an outstanding model organism for studying adaptation to harsh physicochemical conditions and for isolating stable macromolecules resistant to high temperatures. RESULTS: We have constructed four full length enriched cDNA libraries to investigate the biology and evolution of this intriguing animal. Analysis of more than 75,000 high quality reads led to the identification of 15,858 transcripts and 9,221 putative protein sequences. Our annotation reveals a good coverage of most animal pathways and networks with a prevalence of transcripts involved in oxidative stress resistance, detoxification, anti-bacterial defence, and heat shock protection. Alvinella proteins seem to show a slow evolutionary rate and a higher similarity with proteins from Vertebrates compared to proteins from Arthropods or Nematodes. Their composition shows enrichment in positively charged amino acids that might contribute to their thermostability. The gene content of Alvinella reveals that an important pool of genes previously considered to be specific to Deuterostomes were in fact already present in the last common ancestor of the Bilaterian animals, but have been secondarily lost in model invertebrates. This pool is enriched in glycoproteins that play a key role in intercellular communication, hormonal regulation and immunity. CONCLUSIONS: Our study starts to unravel the gene content and sequence evolution of a deep-sea annelid, revealing key features in eukaryote adaptation to extreme environmental conditions and highlighting the proximity of Annelids and Vertebrates.
Project description:Phylogeography of animals provides clues to processes governing their evolution and diversification. The Indian Ocean has been hypothesized as a 'dispersal corridor' connecting hydrothermal vent fauna of Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Stalked barnacles of the family Eolepadidae are common associates of deep-sea vents in Southern, Pacific and Indian oceans, and the family is an ideal group for testing this hypothesis. Here, we describe Neolepas marisindica sp. nov. from the Indian Ocean, distinguished from N. zevinae and N. rapanuii by having a tridentoid mandible in which the second tooth lacks small elongated teeth. Morphological variations suggest that environmental differences result in phenotypic plasticity in the capitulum and scales on the peduncle in eolepadids. We suggest that diagnostic characters in Eolepadidae should be based mainly on more reliable arthropodal characters and DNA barcoding, while the plate arrangement should be used carefully with their intraspecific variation in mind. We show morphologically that Neolepas specimens collected from the South West Indian Ridge, the South East Indian Ridge and the Central Indian Ridge belong to the new species. Molecular phylogeny and fossil evidence indicated that Neolepas migrated from the southern Pacific to the Indian Ocean through the Southern Ocean, providing key evidence against the 'dispersal corridor' hypothesis. Exploration of the South East Indian Ridge is urgently required to understand vent biogeography in the Indian Ocean.
Project description:The Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR) represents one of the most slow-spreading ridge systems on Earth. Previous attempts to locate hydrothermal vent fields and unravel the nature of venting, as well as the provenance of vent fauna at this northern and insular termination of the global ridge system, have been unsuccessful. Here, we report the first discovery of a black smoker vent field at the AMOR. The field is located on the crest of an axial volcanic ridge (AVR) and is associated with an unusually large hydrothermal deposit, which documents that extensive venting and long-lived hydrothermal systems exist at ultraslow-spreading ridges, despite their strongly reduced volcanic activity. The vent field hosts a distinct vent fauna that differs from the fauna to the south along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The novel vent fauna seems to have developed by local specialization and by migration of fauna from cold seeps and the Pacific.