Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 845–857 | Cite as

More diverse than expected: distributional patterns of Oecidiobranchus Hessler, 1970 (Isopoda, Asellota) on the Greenland-Iceland-Faeroe Ridge based on molecular markers

  • Robert M. Jennings
  • Saskia Brix
  • Simon Bober
  • Jörundur Svavarsson
  • Amy Driskell
Biodiversity of Icelandic Waters
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity of Icelandic Waters


Oecidiobranchus (Isopoda, Asellota) is distinctive among asellote isopod genera in that most of its known species occur in the Nordic Seas and the Arctic Ocean. Some of these species are known only from a few specimens (i.e., poorly known). We used a combined morphological and genetic approach to evaluate the diversity of Oecidiobranchus species in this region. On the basis of genetics, at least three species were recognized, representing Oecidiobranchus cf. nanseni, Oecidiobranchus cf. plebejum, and a third, probably undescribed species. Oecidiobranchus cf. plebejum was found at several locations to the north of the large Greenland-Iceland-Faeroe Ridge, while O. cf. nanseni occurred on both sides of the ridge; temporal or spatial changes during and after the last ice age may have contributed to the genetic differences of populations on each side of the ridge. The wide distribution of the genus in the Nordic Seas and the Arctic Ocean suggests that the genus has been present there for an extensive period.


Isopoda IceAGE GIF Ridge Circum-Icelandic distribution DNA barcoding Biogeography Population 



We would like to thank the crews of RV Metor and RV Poseidon for their important help and contribution. We wish to thank all pickers and sorters during the IceAGE expeditions for providing a unique set of specimens. Without the help of Karen Jeskulke, Sarah Schnurr, and Andrea Ormos, working so hard on producing high-quality PCR products at the Smithsonian, the whole work would have been much slower. We thank Anna M. Jażdżewska for help with the data and two anonymous reviewers whose suggestions improved the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was supported by the German Science Foundation under grant no. BR3843/6-1. This grant supported the travels of Robert Jennings and Saskia Brix within the American-German cooperation in the frame of the IceAGE project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.

Field study

Permits and approval of field or observational studies have been obtained by the authors, if applicable.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Jennings
    • 1
  • Saskia Brix
    • 2
  • Simon Bober
    • 3
  • Jörundur Svavarsson
    • 4
  • Amy Driskell
    • 5
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Senckenberg am MeerGerman Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research (DZMB)HamburgGermany
  3. 3.Centre of Natural History (CeNak), Zoological MuseumUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  5. 5.Laboratories of Analytical Biology, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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