Genetic divergence and migration patterns of a galatheoid squat lobster highlight the need for deep-sea conservation

Ting Xu, Xia Chai, Chong Chen, Hiromi Kayama Watanabe, Jin Sun, Yao Xiao, Yan Wang, Junlin Chen, Jian Wen Qiu*, Pei Yuan Qian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Information on genetic divergence and migration patterns of vent- and seep-endemic macrobenthos can help delimit biogeographical provinces and provide scientific guidelines for deep-sea conservation under the growing threats of anthropogenic disturbances. Nevertheless, related studies are still scarce, impeding the informed conservation of these hotspots of deep-sea biodiversity. To bridge this knowledge gap, we conducted a population connectivity study on the galatheoid squat lobster Shinkaia crosnieri – a deep-sea foundation species widely distributed in vent and seep ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific. With the application of an interdisciplinary methodology involving population genomics and oceanographic approaches, we unveiled two semi-isolated lineages of S. crosnieri with limited and asymmetrical gene flow potentially shaped by the geographic settings, habitat types, and ocean currents – one comprising vent populations in the Okinawa Trough, with those inhabiting the southern trough area likely serving as the source; the other being the Jiaolong (JR) seep population in the South China Sea. The latter might have recently experienced a pronounced demographic contraction and exhibited genetic introgression from the Okinawa Trough lineage, potentially mediated by the intrusion of the North Pacific Intermediate Water. We then compared the biogeographic patterns between S. crosnieri and two other representative and co-occurring vent- and seep-endemic species using published data. Based on their biogeographical subdivisions and source-sink dynamics, we highlighted the southern Okinawa Trough vents and the JR seep warrant imperative conservation efforts to sustain the deep-sea biodiversity in the Northwest Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17200
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • deep-sea conservation
  • hydrocarbon seep
  • hydrodynamic modelling
  • hydrothermal vent
  • Northwest Pacific
  • population genomics


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