Exploring source sink dynamics in a variable setting: Genetic variation among tubeworms from the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents (Juan de Fuca Ridge)

The natural instability of hydrothermal vents creates non-equilibrium conditions between habitat patches. Extreme habitat differences correspond to notable phenotypic variation in the siboglinid Ridgeia piscesae, the only ‘vent tubeworm’ and a major foundation species at the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area (MPA). Ridgeia piscesae in high fluid flux habitats, where resources are abundant and temperatures are warmer, have rapid growth rates and high reproductive output compared to worms in marginal habitats. As recruitment occurs in both settings, worms in the “optimal habitat” may act as source populations. Tubeworms in northern vent fields may also act as source populations due to the plume driven circulation at Endeavour. Population connectivity in Ridgeia piscesae was assessed by analysis of the mitochondrial COI gene and microsatellite markers from samples collected at three vents fields within the Endeavour MPA. For COI, a significant excess of rare alleles occurred in over half of all sampled populations. Tubeworm populations from marginal habitats had more alleles and haplotypes than those from high flux habitats. Little to moderate genetic structure occurred among populations. Together, these data suggest that worms from optimal habitat are undergoing rapid population expansion and worms in marginal habitats are experiencing long term immigration from multiple and rapidly expanding ephemeral sources. Larvae likely enter a mixed larval pool however; some evidence indicated asymmetrical migration between vent fields. Identifying “source” populations and how they affect the role of connectivity and genetic diversity is essential to making appropriate recommendations to the effective management of ecologically significant species within an MPA.

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First Name: 
Lara
Last Name: 
Puetz
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2504725213
Affiliation: 
University of Victoria
First Name: 
Jessica
Last Name: 
McKenzie
Affiliation: 
University of Victoria
First Name: 
John
Last Name: 
Taylor
Affiliation: 
University of Victoria
First Name: 
Verena
Last Name: 
Tunnicliffe
Affiliation: 
University of Victoria
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Early life history (reproduction, dispersal, settlement, recruitment)
Abstract ID: 
CBE5-176