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Polish Polar Research

The Journal of Committee on Polar Research of Polish Academy of Sciences

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Volume 35, Issue 2


Molecular Species Delimitation of Icelandic Brittle Stars (Ophiuroidea)

Sahar Khodami
  • Corresponding author
  • Senckenberg am Meer, German Center for Marine Biodiversity Research, Südstrand 44, 26382 Wilhelmshaven
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Pedro Martinez Arbizu / Sabine Stöhr / Silke Laakmann
  • Senckenberg am Meer, German Center for Marine Biodiversity Research, Südstrand 44, 26382 Wilhelmshaven
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-07-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popore-2014-0011


Brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) comprise over 2, 000 species, all of which inhabit marine environments and can be abundant in the deep sea. Morphological plasticity in number and shape of skeletal parts, as well as variable colors, can complicate correct species identification. Consequently, DNA sequence analysis can play an important role in species identification. In this study we compared the genetic variability of the mitochondrial cytochrome c subunit I gene (COI) and the nuclear small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU, 18S rDNA) to morphological identification of 66 specimens of 11 species collected from the North Atlantic in Icelandic waters. Also two species delimitation tools, Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) and General Mixed Yule Coalescence Method (GMYC) were performed to test species hypotheses. The analysis of both gene fragments was successful to discriminate between species and provided new insights into some morphological species hypothesis. Although less divergent than COI, it is helpful to use the SSU region as a complementary fragment to the barcoding gene.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Icelandic waters; ophiuroids; echinoderms; ABGD; COI; GMYC; SSU


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About the article

Received: 2014-02-20

Accepted: 2014-04-22

Published Online: 2014-07-29

We gratefully acknowledge the captain and crew members of the R/V Meteor (cruiseNo. 85 Leg 3, 2011) and German Center forMarine Biodiversity Research team for help in providing and sorting samples as well as laboratory assistance. Financial support was provided by the German Science Foundation (DFG) under the grant number BR3843/4-1. Also, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the reviewers who identified areas of our manuscript that needed corrections or modification.

Citation Information: Polish Polar Research, Volume 35, Issue 2, Pages 243–260, ISSN (Online) 2081-8262, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/popore-2014-0011.

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© 2014 Polish Academy of Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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