Identification and Distribution of a Bone-eating Marine Worm (Annelida, Osedax)
Waits, Damien S.
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Ephemeral reducing environments such as hydrothermal vents and whale falls create oases of chemosynthetic primary production in the nutrient poor deep sea. The polychaete family Siboglinidae has adapted to occupy these niches of chemical nutrition. This likely requires high levels of dispersal, either through long-living larvae or a “stepping-stone” dispersal method. Here we seek to identify recently found specimens of Osedax from whalebones off the coast of Oregon and Antarctica. Once species identity was determined, we sought to elucidate connectivity between known populations of Osedax from Monterey Bay and Sagami Bay. To accomplish this, we sequenced the mitochondrial marker COI and inferred relationships through a haplotype network and maximum likelihood tree.