Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 8, pp 1059–1068 | Cite as

Is the Scotia Sea a centre of Antarctic marine diversification? Some evidence of cryptic speciation in the circum-Antarctic bivalve Lissarca notorcadensis (Arcoidea: Philobryidae)

  • Katrin LinseEmail author
  • Therese Cope
  • Anne-Nina Lörz
  • Chester Sands
Original Paper


The bivalve Lissarca notorcadensis is one of the most abundant species in Antarctic waters and has colonised the entire Antarctic shelf and Scotia Sea Islands. Its brooding reproduction, low dispersal capabilities and epizoic lifestyle predict limited gene flow between geographically isolated populations. Relationships between specimens from seven regions in the Southern Ocean and outgroups were assessed with nuclear 28S rDNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) genes. The 28S dataset indicate that while Lissarca appears to be a monophyletic genus, there is polyphyly between the Limopsidae and Philobryidae. Thirteen CO1 haplotypes were found, mostly unique to the sample regions, and two distinct lineages were distinguished. Specimens from the Weddell and Ross Sea form one lineage while individuals from the banks and islands of the Scotia Sea form the other. Within each lineage, further vicariance was observed forming six regionally isolated groups. Our results provide initial evidence for reproductively isolated populations of L. notorcadensis. The islands of the Scotia Sea appear to act as centres of speciation in the Southern Ocean.


Lissarca notorcadensis Bivalvia Antarctic Cytochrome oxidase I Cryptic species 



We are grateful to the cruise leaders, captains, officers and crews of PFS Polarstern (ANT XIX-4, ANT XIX-5 and ANT XXI-2) and of RV Tangaroa (TAN0402) who enabled us to collect the samples for this study. Thanks are due to S. Lockhardt for access to ANDEEP I cidaroid sea urchins hosting Lissarca and to H. Griffiths for providing the map. NERC (NER/M/S/2003/00102) funded the core research programme. The FRST Program CO1X0502 supported the work on the Ross Sea samples held by the NIWA Marine Invertebrate Collection. This paper is a contribution to British Antarctic Survey core project ‘BIOPEARL’, ANDEEP publication no 71 and linked with the SCAR ‘EBA’ programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrin Linse
    • 1
    Email author
  • Therese Cope
    • 1
  • Anne-Nina Lörz
    • 2
  • Chester Sands
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environmental Research CouncilCambridgeUK
  2. 2.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchKilbirnie WellingtonNew Zealand

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