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The high diversity of Southern Ocean sea stars (Asteroidea) reveals original evolutionary pathways
Moreau, C.; Jossart, Q.; Danis, B.; Eleaume, M.; Christiansen, H.; Guillaumot, C.; Downey, R.; Saucède, T. (2021). The high diversity of Southern Ocean sea stars (Asteroidea) reveals original evolutionary pathways. Prog. Oceanogr. 190: 102472. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102472
In: Progress in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford,New York,. ISSN 0079-6611; e-ISSN 1873-4472
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Asteroidea [WoRMS]; Echinodermata [WoRMS]
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    Antarctica; COI mtDNA; Biodiversity; Echinodermata; Evolution; Phylogeography

Authors  Top 
  • Moreau, C.
  • Jossart, Q.
  • Danis, B., more
  • Eleaume, M.
  • Christiansen, H.
  • Guillaumot, C.
  • Downey, R.
  • Saucède, T.

Abstract
    Benthic life in the Southern Ocean (SO) features unique life history traits and species assemblages, but the origin and evolution of many of these taxonomic groups is still unclear. Sea stars (Asteroidea) are a diversified and abundant component of benthic ecosystems in the SO, in which they can play key ecological roles. Former studies suggest that the diversity of the entire class is still poorly known and underestimated, hampering the assessment of the origin and evolution of the class in the SO. In the present study, we analyse spatial patterns of SO sea star diversity using an occurrence database of ~14,000 entries. The biogeographic analysis is coupled with the exploration of an extensive molecular phylogeny based on over 4,400 specimen sequences to inform, support and/or question the observed diversity patterns. We show that the current taxonomy of SO asteroids needs revision and that their diversity has generally been overlooked and misinterpreted. Molecular results highlight the recent diversification of most studied taxa, at genus and species levels, which supports an evolutionary scenario referring to successive invasion and exchange events between the SO and adjacent regions, and clade diversification during periods of rapid environmental changes driven by the succession of glacial cycles. Our work advocates for employing, and endorsing the use of extensive genetic barcode libraries for biodiversity studies.

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