COLONISATION BY THE WOOD-BORING BIVALVE XYLOPHAGA WASHINGTONA
Wood falls represent a rare and ephemeral, yet important source of food in the deep-sea. Wood-boring bivalves of the family Xylophagainae have high reproduction and growth rates, allowing them to rapidly colonise and exploit these resources. While efforts have focussed on the taxonomy of this group, there has been less research carried out on reproduction and larval recruitment. Specimens of Xylophaga washingtona were collected from an experimental wood deployment placed at a depth of 1, 605 m for 15 months off the coast of Oregon, USA. Individuals were compared using the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene to test for the presence of multiple cohorts. The analyses revealed genetic differentiation within the population. This suggests that colonisers are arriving in multiple cohorts, as opposed to one single cohort. However, the sample size was extremely low, with poor data quality, and the results of this study should therefore not be considered reliable or conclusive. Future studies on the population genetics of X. washingtona would be valuable in further addressing recruitment of this species.