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.

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Published in Ecology and Evolution, v. 9, issue 11, p. 6568-6580.

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

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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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). Specimens from Lau Basin were collected during the Ridge 2000 program cruise with support from NSF OCE 0732333 and C. Fisher.

Related Content

Amplicon sequences are uploaded to GenBank. Accession numbers can be found in Table S1. Scripts, where appropriate, will be uploaded to the github of A.L.L. https://github.com/alabella19/Plouviez_et_al_2019.

Additional supporting information may be found online in the Supporting Information section at the end of the article.

ece35235-sup-0001-figs1-s3.docx (814 kB)
Supplementary Figures 1-3.

ece35235-sup-0002-tables1.docx (25 kB)
Supplementary Table 1.

ece35235-sup-0003-figs1.pdf (35 kB)
Supplementary Figure 1.

ece35235-sup-0004-figs2.pdf (39 kB)
Supplementary Figure 2.

ece35235-sup-0005-figs3a.pdf (7 kB)
Supplementary Figure 3a.

ece35235-sup-0006-figs3b.pdf (5 kB)
Supplementary Figure 3b.