Project description:BACKGROUND:Colonial invertebrates such as corals exhibit nested levels of modularity, imposing a challenge to the depiction of their morphological evolution. Comparisons among diverse Caribbean gorgonian corals suggest decoupling of evolution at the polyp vs. branch/internode levels. Thus, evolutionary change in polyp form or size (the colonial module sensu stricto) does not imply a change in colony form (constructed of modular branches and other emergent features). This study examined the patterns of morphological integration at the intraspecific level. Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata (Verrill) (Octocorallia: Gorgoniidae) is a Caribbean shallow water gorgonian that can colonize most reef habitats (shallow/exposed vs. deep/protected; 1-45 m) and shows great morphological variation. RESULTS:To characterize the genotype/environment relationship and phenotypic plasticity in P. bipinnata, two microsatellite loci, mitochondrial (MSH1) and nuclear (ITS) DNA sequences, and (ITS2) DGGE banding patterns were initially compared among the populations present in the coral reefs of Belize (Carrie Bow Cay), Panama (Bocas del Toro), Colombia (Cartagena) and the Bahamas (San Salvador). Despite the large and discrete differentiation of morphotypes, there was no concordant genetic variation (DGGE banding patterns) in the ITS2 genotypes from Belize, Panama and Colombia. ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 phylogenetic analysis afforded evidence for considering the species P. kallos (Bielschowsky) as the shallow-most morphotype of P. bipinnata from exposed environments. The population from Carrie Bow Cay, Belize (1-45 m) was examined to determine the phenotypic integration of modular features such as branch thickness, polyp aperture, inter-polyp distance, internode length and branch length. Third-order partial correlation coefficients suggested significant integration between polypar and colonial traits. Some features did not change at all despite 10-fold differences in other integrated features. More importantly, some colonial features showed dependence on modular features. CONCLUSION:Consequently, module integration in gorgonian corals can be shifted, switched or canalized along lineages. Modular marine organisms such as corals are variations on a single theme: their modules can couple or decouple, allowing them to adapt to all marine benthic environments.
Project description:We describe one new species of Acanthodasys (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida, Thaumastodermatidae) collected from sublittoral sites around Carrie Bow Cay, Belize and Isla Colón in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, Panama. Though eight species of Acanthodasys are currently recognized, no species has yet been reported from the Caribbean. Acanthodasys caribbeanensissp. n. is characterized by the lack of lateral adhesive tubes, the presence of ventrolateral adhesive tubes, and with cuticular armature in the form of both spineless and spined scales. The spineless scales are not elliptical as in other species of Acanthodasys, but are instead variable in shape and closely resemble the spineless scales of species of Diplodasys. Spined scales bear uniancres up to 50 µm long and are the largest reported in the genus. Uniancres are arranged dorsally around the mouth rim and distributed in five distinguishable columns. Adult size varies from 325-625 µm long.
Project description:Gutless oligochaetes are small marine worms that live in obligate associations with bacterial endosymbionts. While symbionts from several host species belonging to the genus Olavius have been described, little is known of the symbionts from the host genus Inanidrilus. In this study, the diversity of bacterial endosymbionts in Inanidrilus leukodermatus from Bermuda and Inanidrilus makropetalos from the Bahamas was investigated using comparative sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene and fluorescence in situ hybridization. As in all other gutless oligochaetes examined to date, I. leukodermatus and I. makropetalos harbor large, oval bacteria identified as Gamma 1 symbionts. The presence of genes coding for ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase form I (cbbL) and adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate reductase (aprA) supports earlier studies indicating that these symbionts are chemoautotrophic sulfur oxidizers. Alphaproteobacteria, previously identified only in the gutless oligochaete Olavius loisae from the southwest Pacific Ocean, coexist with the Gamma 1 symbionts in both I. leukodermatus and I. makropetalos, with the former harboring four and the latter two alphaproteobacterial phylotypes. The presence of these symbionts in hosts from such geographically distant oceans as the Atlantic and Pacific suggests that symbioses with alphaproteobacterial symbionts may be widespread in gutless oligochaetes. The high phylogenetic diversity of bacterial endosymbionts in two species of the genus Inanidrilus, previously known only from members of the genus Olavius, shows that the stable coexistence of multiple symbionts is a common feature in gutless oligochaetes.
Project description:Here, we present two high-quality, draft metagenome-assembled genomes of deltaproteobacterial OalgDelta3 endosymbionts from the gutless marine worm Olavius algarvensis Their 16S rRNA gene sequences share 98% identity with Delta3 endosymbionts of related host species Olavius ilvae (GenBank accession no. AJ620501) and Inanidrilus exumae (GenBank accession no. FM202060), for which no symbiont genomes are available.