Indo-Pacific phylogeography of the lemon sponge Leucetta chagosensis

Pasnin, Olivier ; Voigt, Oliver ; Worheide, Gert ; Murillo Rincon, Andrea P. ; Von der Heyden, Sophie (2020-12-07)

CITATION: Pasnin, O. et al. 2020. Indo-Pacific phylogeography of the lemon sponge Leucetta chagosensis. Diversity, 12(12):466, doi:10.3390/d12120466.

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The sponge Leucetta chagosensisDendy (1913) has a wide distribution throughout the Indo-Pacific (IP) region, with previous studies focussing primarily on the western Pacific Ocean. To increase our knowledge of the spatial variation of genetic diversity throughout the IP, we constructed a phylogeny for L. chagosensis for the IP to assess the evolutionary patterns for this species. We generated 188 sequences of L. chagosensis and constructed maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference trees, using concatenated mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 3 gene (cox3) and nuclear ribosomal RNA gene (28S) markers for the first time. The spatial variation of genetic diversity of L. chagosensis was assessed using a phylogeographic approach. Leucetta chagosensis is composed of five cryptic lineages confined to different biogeographic regions with the specimens found in the Indian Ocean differing significantly from those found in the rest of the IP region. Genetic divergence was particularly high for the cox3 marker, with a low nucleotide diversity but high haplotype diversity for most lineages. This study highlights the need for a sustained effort in studying sponge diversity, boosted by the ongoing discovery of hidden biodiversity among this ecologically important taxon.

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