, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 841-851

Evolution of habitat use by deep-sea mussels

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Previous phylogenetic studies proposed that symbiont-bearing mussels of the subfamily Bathymodiolinae (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) invaded progressively deeper marine environments and evolved from lineages that decomposed wood and bone to specialized lineages that invaded cold-water hydrocarbon seeps and finally deep-sea hydrothermal vents. To assess the validity of the hypotheses, we examined two nuclear (18S and 28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial genes (COI and ND4) from a broad array of bathymodiolin species that included several recently discovered species from shallow hydrothermal seamounts. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis and maximum-likelihood estimates of ancestral character states revealed that vent species evolved multiple times, and that reversals in vent and seep habitat use occurred within the sampled taxa. Previous hypotheses regarding evolution from wood/bone-to-seeps/vents are supported in that mid-ocean hydrothermal vent species may represent a monophyletic group with one noticeable reversal. Earlier hypotheses about progressive evolution from shallow-to-deep habitats appear to hold with a few instances of habitat reversals.

Communicated by R.T. Thompson, St. John’s