Molecular systematic and phylogenetic assessment of 34 calanoid copepod species of the Calanidae and Clausocalanidae
DNA sequences for a 639 bp region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) were determined for 34 species of ten genera in two families of calanoid copepods, including: Calanoides, Cosmocalanus, Meoscalanus, Nannocalanus, Neocalanus, and Undinula (family Calanidae); and Clausocalanus, Ctenocalanus, Drepanopus, and Pseudocalanus (family Clausocalanidae). MtCOI gene sequences proved to be diagnostic molecular systematic characters for accurate identification and discrimination of the species. Levels of mtCOI variation within species (range: 1–4%) were significantly less than those between species (9–25%). Higher levels of intraspecific variation (>2%) usually resulted from comparisons between ecologically distinct or geographically isolated populations. MtCOI sequence variation resolved evolutionary relationships among species of Clausocalanus, Neocalanus, and Pseudocalanus, although there was evidence of saturation at some variable sites. Phylogenetic relationships among 11 copepod genera (adding Calanus to the list above) were reconstructed using a 660 bp region of nuclear small-subunit 18S rRNA, a slowly evolving gene that showed no variability within a species and differed by <1–6% among the genera. The 18S rRNA molecular phylogeny was consistent with the accepted limits of the Calanidae and Clausocalanidae and clearly resolved relationships among genera within each family. This molecular systematic and phylogenetic study was part of the ZooGene project, an international partnership to create a DNA sequence database as a tool for uniform, molecularly based species identification of planktonic calanoid copepods and euphausiids.
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