Eukaryotic Plankton Species Diversity in the Western Channel of the Korea Strait using 18S rDNA Sequences and its Implications for Water Masses
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Organisms entering the East Sea (Sea of Japan) through the Korea Strait, together with water, salt, and energy, affect the East Sea ecosystem. In this study, we report on the biodiversity of eukaryotic plankton found in the Western Channel of the Korea Strait for the first time using small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA) sequences. We also discuss the characteristics of water masses and their physicochemical factors. Diverse taxonomic groups were recovered from 18S rDNA clone libraries, including putative novel, higher taxonomic entities affiliated with Cercozoa, Raphidophyceae, Picozoa, and novel marine Stramenopiles. We also found that there was cryptic genetic variation at both the intraspecific and interspecific levels among arthropods, diatoms, and green algae. Specific plankton assemblages were identified at different sampling depths and they may provide useful information that could be used to interpret the origin and the subsequent mixing history of the water masses that contribute to the Tsushima Warm Current waters. Furthermore, the biological information highlighted in this study may help improve our understanding about the complex water mass interactions that were highlighted in the Korea Strait.
Keywords18S rDNA eukaryotic plankton biodiversity Korea Strait metagenome water masses
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