Population genetic structure of the deep-sea mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in the Northwest Pacific

Ting Xu, Jin Sun, Hiromi K. Watanabe, Chong Chen, Masako Nakamura, Rubao Ji, Dong Feng, Jia Lv, Shi Wang, Zhenmin Bao, Pei Yuan Qian, Jianwen QIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Studying population genetics of deep-sea animals helps us understand their history of habitat colonization and population divergence. Here, we report a population genetic study of the deep-sea mussel Bathymodiolus platifrons (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) widely distributed in chemosynthesis-based ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific. Three mitochondrial genes (i.e., atp6, cox1, and nad4) and 6,398 genomewide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained from 110 individuals from four hydrothermal vents and two methane seeps. When using the three mitochondrial genes, nearly no genetic differentiation was detected for B. platifrons in the Northwest Pacific. Nevertheless, when using SNP datasets, all individuals in the South China Sea (SCS) and three individuals in Sagami Bay (SB) together formed one genetic cluster that was distinct from the remaining individuals. Such genetic divergence indicated a genetic barrier to gene flow between the SCS and the open Northwest Pacific, resulting in the co-occurrence of two cryptic semi-isolated lineages. When using 125 outlier SNPs identified focusing on individuals in the Okinawa Trough (OT) and SB, a minor genetic subdivision was detected between individuals in the southern OT (S-OT) and those in the middle OT (M-OT) and SB. This result indicated that, although under the influence of the Kuroshio Current and the North Pacific Intermediate Water, subtle geographic barriers may exist between the S-OT and the M-OT. Introgression analyses based on these outlier SNPs revealed that Hatoma Knoll in the S-OT represents a possible contact zone for individuals in the OT-SB region. Furthermore, migration dynamic analyses uncovered stronger gene flow from Dai-yon Yonaguni Knoll in the S-OT to the other local populations, compared to the reverse directions. Taken together, the present study offered novel perspectives on the genetic connectivity of B. platifrons mussels, revealing the potential interaction of ocean currents and geographic barriers with adaption and reproductive isolation in shaping their migration patterns and genetic differentiation in the Northwest Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1915-1930
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bathymodiolus
  • deep-sea
  • genetic structure
  • introgression
  • migration patterns
  • mitochondrial genes
  • population connectivity
  • RAD-seq


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