Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2021

Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs) develop on a unique environment, where abrupt environmental changes take place. Using a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny (mtDNA: mtMutS), we examined the lineage membership of mesophotic gorgonian corals (Octocorallia: Cnidaria) in comparison to shallow and deep-sea lineages of the wider Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico and the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Our results show mesophotic gorgonians originating multiple times from old deep-sea octocoral lineages, whereas shallow-water species comprise younger lineages. The mesophotic gorgonian fauna in the studied areas is related to their zooxanthellate shallow-water counterparts in only two clades (Gorgoniidae and Plexauridae), where the bathymetrical gradient could serve as a driver of diversification. Interestingly, mesophotic clades have diversified faster than either shallow or deep clades. One of this groups with fast diversification is the family Ellisellidae, a major component of the mesophotic gorgonian coral assemblage worldwide.

Publication Title

Diversity

Volume

13

Issue

12

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Share

COinS