A genetic fingerprint of Amphipoda from Icelandic waters - the baseline for further biodiversity and biogeography studies
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Amphipods constitute an abundant part of Icelandic deep-sea zoobenthos yet knowledge of the diversity of this fauna, particularly at the molecular level, is scarce. The present work aims to use molecular methods to investigate genetic variation of the Amphipoda sampled during two IceAGE collecting expeditions. The mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) of 167 individuals originally assigned to 75 morphospecies was analysed. These targeted morhospecies were readily identifiable by experts using light microscopy and representative of families where there is current ongoing taxonomic research. The study resulted in 81 Barcode Identity Numbers (BINs) (of which >90% were published for the first time), while Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery revealed the existence of 78 to 83 Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs). Six nominal species (Rhachotropis helleri, Arrhis phyllonyx, Deflexilodes tenuirostratus, Paroediceros propinquus, Metopa boeckii, Astyra abyssi) appeared to have a molecular variation higher than the 0.03 threshold of both p-distance and K2P usually used for amphipod species delineation. Conversely, two Oedicerotidae regarded as separate morphospecies clustered together with divergences in the order of intraspecific variation. The incongruence between the BINs associated with presently identified species and the publicly available data of the same taxa was observed in case of Paramphithoe hystrix and Amphilochus manudens. The findings from this research project highlight the necessity of supporting molecular studies with thorough morphology species analyses.