Adaptation and Drift in the Deep-Sea

     In the deep-sea there are few obvious barriers to dispersal and few opportunities for speciation driven by isolation yet this environment is host to diverse species assemblages. Understanding how biodiversity is generated, how genetic diversity is spatially divided, and what processes or barriers impact gene flow is crucial to conservation and management efforts. To better understand these process we are focusing on the deep-sea fishes of the genus Coryphaenoides (family Macrouridae). There are 66 recognized species in the genus which inhabit the world's oceans from the continental slopes to the abyssal plains. These distant relatives of cod (Gadus morhua), are common in some deep ocean environments and are important members of bottom-dwelling fish communities.

     In this study we are using second generation sequencing technologies to investigate how environmental factors are associated with the evolution of population structure and speciation in the deep-sea. The particular focus will be on habitat depth and isolation by distance; however other environmental factors will be quantified based on data collected during the recent EcoMar consortium study during which many of the samples for this study were collected.

 

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