Polar Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 575–586

Evolutionary history of Southern Ocean Odontaster sea star species (Odontasteridae; Asteroidea)

  • Alexis M. Janosik
  • Andrew R. Mahon
  • Kenneth M. Halanych
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-010-0916-7

Cite this article as:
Janosik, A.M., Mahon, A.R. & Halanych, K.M. Polar Biol (2011) 34: 575. doi:10.1007/s00300-010-0916-7


We investigated the recent evolutionary history of demersal sea stars in the genus Odontaster throughout the Western Antarctic waters and on the South American shelf. The mitochondrial 16S ribosomal and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) genes were sequenced from adult and larval specimens. TCS parsimony network analysis and Bayesian inference were used to examine evolutionary history. Hierarchical AMOVA and mitochondrial DNA diversity statistics were also computed. Additionally, morphological characters were used. In assessing O. validus, we discovered morphological and range descriptions of Odontaster species to be inaccurate and include other Odontaster species in the Southern Ocean. We found O. meridionalis on both sides of the Antarctic circumpolar current (ACC) and Antarctic polar front (APF), whereas O. validus and O. penicillatus do not appear to have permeated these oceanographic features. Additionally, we discovered previously unrecognized species of Odontaster. Subsequent examination revealed diagnostic morphological differences in the number of spinelets on the abactinal and actinal plates. Mitochondrial characterization of Odontaster species suggests their recent history has been influenced by the APF and ACC in different ways. With the exception of O. meridionalis, Odontaster species are restricted to either side of the Drake Passage. O. validus shows genetic connectivity throughout sampled Antarctic waters.


16S rDNA COI mtDNA Antarctic circumpolar current Antarctic polar front Odontaster Phylogeography 

Supplementary material

300_2010_916_MOESM1_ESM.doc (628 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 628 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis M. Janosik
    • 1
  • Andrew R. Mahon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kenneth M. Halanych
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Aquatic Conservation, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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