Tubeworms with Really Big…

Evolution 2009


Yesterday, at Evolution 2009 I also attended the talk of Maria Miglietta from KZ’s old stomping grounds.  Maria discussed work on species geographic boundaries of vestmentiferan tube worms primarily in the Gulf of Mexico.  Let me say the irony of seeing  a deep-sea talk in the middle of Idaho is not lost on me.

Examining a variety of genes she finds that many of the morphospecies of tubeworms in the GOM are not genetically differentiated.  Interestingly, her analyses also show that pretty much everything splits into two major groups, the Lammelibrachia and just about everything else.  It will be interesting to see if she can eventually elucidate the when and why of this evolutionary split.  One of the most exciting findings is that a species from the GOM, near Africa, and the Pacific are genetically very similiar suggesting 1.) the species has an incredible larval dispersal phase or 2.) that many undiscovered cold seeps, the habitat of the species Miglietta is examining, exist that would serve as stepping stones for the species.

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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2 comments on “Tubeworms with Really Big…
  1. where from Africa do the tubeworms come from? Are there hydrothermal vents or cold seeps?

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