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Abstract

The eurybathic isopod species Chelator insignis shows a wide distribution south of Iceland. We analysed 51 specimens from shelf (213–305 m depth), slope (885–891 m and 1380–1390 m depth) and deep−sea habitats (2750 m) south of Iceland with different DNA markers. A fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) was studied for 47 specimens, 16S was studied for 36 specimens, and a fragment for the 18S rRNA gene could be amplified for 11 specimens. For the COI data, specimens clustered into five distinct lineages each separated by ³ 20% uncorrected pairwise distances. Both the mitochondrial 16S and the nuclear 18S sequence data further support this deep divergence, suggesting the presence of overlooked species inside the nominal C. insignis . Populations on the shelf occurring east and west of the Reykjanes Ridge were genetically identical suggesting that this ridge is not a barrier to gene flow. However, populations from different depth ranges differed substantially. Our multi−gene analysis suggests that the newly found species likely have more narrow vertical distribution ranges and highlights a possible role of bathymetry in speciation processes.
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