Meeting Abstract

62.1  Saturday, Jan. 5  Species distributions in the open oceans: integrating distribution models and population genomics BENTLAGE, B; University of Maryland

Population genetic and phylogeographic studies have uncovered strong population structuring and previously unrecognized amounts of cryptic sibling species in many marine habitats. In the open oceans, most studies have investigated patterns of population structuring and species diversity for the uppermost parts of the water column. These patterns can be explained using present-day environmental discontinuities of water masses. The deeper parts of the open ocean water column (the mid-water) have been largely neglected due to the difficulties of sampling this environment. I present a case-study integrating three-dimensional correlative ecological niche modeling with population genomics that investigates population genetics of hydrozoan jellyfish (Cnidaria: Medusozoa) that inhabit the open oceans, in particular mid-water habitats. Ecological niche modeling was employed to predict the ranges of suitable habitat in the open oceans to make predictions about present-day geographic distributions of hydrozoan jellyfish and the sub-structuring of their populations. Population genomic data are then used to test these geographically explicit hypotheses of population structure. Preliminary results suggest that species inhabiting deep waters display little genetic differentiation among distant populations while shallow water inhabiting species display strong population genetic structuring.