Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 663–670 | Cite as

Low connectivity between ‘scaly-foot gastropod’ (Mollusca: Peltospiridae) populations at hydrothermal vents on the Southwest Indian Ridge and the Central Indian Ridge

  • Chong Chen
  • Jonathan T. Copley
  • Katrin Linse
  • Alex D. Rogers
Original Article


Hydrothermal vents on mid-oceanic ridges are patchily distributed and host many taxa endemic to deep-sea chemosynthetic environments, whose dispersal may be constrained by geographical barriers. The aim of this study was to investigate the connectivity of three populations of the ‘scaly-foot gastropod’ (Chrysomallon squamiferum Chen et al., 2015), a species endemic to hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean, amongst two vent fields on the Central Indian Ridge (CIR) and Longqi field, the first sampled vent field on the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). Connectivity and population structure across the two mid-oceanic ridges were investigated using a 489-bp fragment of the cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) gene. Phylogeographical approaches used include measures of genetic differentiation (F ST), reconstruction of parsimony haplotype network, mismatch analyses and neutrality tests. Relative migrants per generation were estimated between the fields. Significant differentiation (F ST = 0.28–0.29, P < 0.001) was revealed between the vent field in SWIR and the two in CIR. Signatures were detected indicating recent bottleneck events followed by demographic expansion in all populations. Estimates of relative number of migrants were relatively low between the SWIR and CIR, compared with values between the CIR vent fields. The present study is the first to investigate connectivity between hydrothermal vents across two mid-ocean ridges in the Indian Ocean. The phylogeography revealed for C. squamiferum indicates low connectivity between SWIR and CIR vent populations, with implications for the future management of environmental impacts for seafloor mining at hydrothermal vents in the region, as proposed for Longqi.


Deep-sea Dispersal Hydrothermal vent Indian Ocean Population connectivity Scaly-foot gastropod 



The authors are greatly indebted to Dr Hiromi Watanabe and Dr Ken Takai (JAMSTEC) for their kind help with the data for C. squamiferum from the CIR vents and for useful discussion. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Master and crew of the RRS James Cook as well as pilots and technical teams of ROV Kiel 6000 for their immense support of scientific activity during the cruise JC66/67. Staffs of the UK National Marine Facilities at the National Oceanography Centre are thanked for their logistics and shipboard support. Finally, we would like to thank two reviewers for their help in improving the manuscript.


This study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council through a small research grant (NE/H012087/1) to J.T.C. and a research grant (NE/F005504/1) to A.D.R. The funder had no role in research design, data analysis, publication decisions or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.National Oceanography CentreUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.British Antarctic SurveyCambridgeUK

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