Marine Biology

, 148:769 | Cite as

High diversity of deep-sea Gromia from the Arabian Sea revealed by small subunit rDNA sequence analysis

  • Ana Aranda da Silva
  • Jan Pawlowski
  • Andrew J. Gooday
Research Article


Gromia is a large marine protist with filose pseudopodia and ovoid test, common in coastal intertidal and sublittoral waters. Although deep-water Gromia-like morphospecies were discovered in the 1990s, their relations to the shallow water species have never been established. Moreover, very little is known about the diversity within Gromia, reflecting the fact that these morphologically relatively simple protists have few characters useful for species identification. Consequently, we have analysed the SSU rDNA and ITS rDNA genes to examine gromiid diversity in two different areas located on the Oman and Pakistan margins of the Arabian Sea (water depths 1,000–2,000 m). In total, 27 deep-sea gromiid sequences of the SSU rDNA gene and six sequences of the ITS rDNA region were obtained. Our data confirm that Gromia-like protists from the bathyal deep sea are related to the shallow-water gromiids. Within Arabian Sea Gromia, we identified seven distinctive lineages, five of which form a monophyletic group branching as a sister group to shallow-water species. Six lineages of Arabian Sea Gromia can be defined morphologically, while one lineage includes specimens that look identical to specimens from two other lineages. This indicates that each Gromia lineage represents probably a separate species and suggests that deep-sea gromiid diversity is higher than indicated by their simple morphology.



(Base pair)


rDNA (small subunit ribosomal DNA)


rDNA (large subunit ribosomal DNA)


(Maximum likelihood)





We thank the crew and officers of the RRS Charles Darwin for their skilled contribution to the collection of samples. We are grateful to the members of the scientific party on Darwin 143, 145 and 151, for helping in numerous ways at sea: Brian Bett, David Billet, Janne Kaariainen, Kate Larkin, Lisa Levin, Christine Whitcraft and Ben Wigham. We also thank all the people in the lab in Geneva that have helped us with the molecular work, in particular Cedric Berney, Fabien Burki, Jose Fahrni, Jackie Guiard-Maffia and David Longet. AAS was supported by the Portuguese FCT grant SFRH/BD/2911/2000. JP was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation grant 3100A0–100415. Research on the Pakistan margin, including AJG was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council Grant NER/A/S/2000/01383. The experiments comply with current laws of the country in which the experiments were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Aranda da Silva
    • 1
  • Jan Pawlowski
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Gooday
    • 1
  1. 1.National Oceanography CentreSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Animal BiologyUniversity of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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