Amplicon sequencing of 42 nuclear loci supports directional gene flow between South Pacific populations of a hydrothermal vent limpet

Sophie Plouviez, Abigail Leavitt LaBella, David W. Weisrock, F. A.Bastiaan von Meijenfeldt, Bernard Ball, Joseph E. Neigel, Cindy L. Van Dover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the past few decades, population genetics and phylogeographic studies have improved our knowledge of connectivity and population demography in marine environments. Studies of deep-sea hydrothermal vent populations have identified barriers to gene flow, hybrid zones, and demographic events, such as historical population expansions and contractions. These deep-sea studies, however, used few loci, which limit the amount of information they provided for coalescent analysis and thus our ability to confidently test complex population dynamics scenarios. In this study, we investigated population structure, demographic history, and gene flow directionality among four Western Pacific hydrothermal vent populations of the vent limpet Lepetodrilus aff. schrolli. These vent sites are located in the Manus and Lau back-arc basins, currently of great interest for deep-sea mineral extraction. A total of 42 loci were sequenced from each individual using high-throughput amplicon sequencing. Amplicon sequences were analyzed using both genetic variant clustering methods and evolutionary coalescent approaches. Like most previously investigated vent species in the South Pacific, L. aff. schrolli showed no genetic structure within basins but significant differentiation between basins. We inferred significant directional gene flow from Manus Basin to Lau Basin, with low to no gene flow in the opposite direction. This study is one of the very few marine population studies using >10 loci for coalescent analysis and serves as a guide for future marine population studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6568-6580
Number of pages13
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NSF OCE-1031050 to CLVD and Clifford Cunningham, Nautilus Minerals, Inc. (to CLVD and SP), and Duke University. F.A.B.v.M was supported with a scholarship of the Schure-Beijerinck-Popping Fonds, Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders. Specimens of Lepetodrilus from Manus Basin collected for this work are the property of Papua New Guinea, held in trust by Nautilus Minerals, and loaned to Duke University for baseline studies for the Solwara 1 Project. Specimens from Lau Basin were collected during the Ridge 2000 program cruise with support from NSF OCE 0732333 and C. Fisher. We thank Clifford Cunningham for his contributions. Additionally, we thank the crew members of the R/V Thompson and the ROV Jason team. We thank ANR DEEP OASIS and D. Jollivet (co-PI, lead PI: D. Desbruyères) for SP's participation in the Lau cruise.

Funding Information:
NSF, Grant/Award Number: OCE-1031050; Nautilus Minerals, Inc.; Duke University; Schure-Beijerinck-Popping Fonds; Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • conservation genetics
  • deep-sea
  • invertebrates
  • phylogeography
  • population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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