Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 2, pp 253–261 | Cite as

Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in deep-sea bamboo coral (Keratoisidinae) species in the southwest and northwest Pacific Ocean

  • P. J. SmithEmail author
  • S. M. McVeagh
  • J. T. Mingoia
  • S. C. France
Research Article


The Keratoisidinae are a poorly known, but phenotypically diverse group of deepwater corals. Recent developments in deepwater trawling in the southwest Pacific have provided many more specimens of bamboo corals. Two sub-regions of the mitochondrial genome were sequenced to test genetic relationships among specimens collected over a wide geographical range (27–50° S): a sub-region of the large-subunit rRNA (16S rRNA), characterized by a highly variable insertion/deletion (INDEL#2) region; and a non-coding region between COII and COI. Based on DNA haplotypes, 14 species of Keratoisidinae were recognized among 88 specimens from deep water in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The common haplotypes also appeared in specimens collected in the northwest Pacific Ocean and may indicate that some bamboo coral species are widespread in the Pacific, or that the mitochondrial markers are insensitive to recent speciation events. Many specimens were taken from flat bottom areas and, contrary to assumptions, the bamboo corals are not endemic to seamounts. The closure of some seamounts to trawling will protect bamboo corals from extinction, but not from local depletion.


Larval Dispersal Coral Specimen Preservation History Orange Roughy Gorgonian Coral 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to members of the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries Observer Programme for sample collection, and to Dr. Steve O’Shea, NIWA, for access to the invertebrate museum collection. SCF thanks Lauren Mullineaux (WHOI) for Fieberling Guyot specimens and Mercer Brugler, Loretta Hoover and Andrea LePard for assistance in the laboratory. Two anonymous referees made constructive comments on the manuscript. The research was funded by a New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology contract, number C01X0028, to NIWA. Funding for SCF came from the College of Charleston, the University of Maine (subcontract UM-S429), NIH grant number RR-1 P20 RR16461-01 from the BRIN Program of the National Center for Research Resources, and a grant of submersible time from NOAA’s Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. This is contribution number 236 of the Grice Marine Laboratory, College of Charleston.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. M. McVeagh
    • 1
  • J. T. Mingoia
    • 2
  • S. C. France
    • 3
  1. 1.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd.WellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Grice Marine LaboratoryCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA

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