Eurythoe complanata: more cryptic species in the Pacific?
Mitochondrial DNA data has shown that Eurythoe complanata is a cryptic species complex characterized by deeply divergent sympatric populations in the Atlantic, and on either side of Panama, despite almost no morphological differences. Previous work examined populations primarily in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean, with little exploration of the phylogenetic relationships of Pacific populations. We aim to study these relationships using nuclear (ITS-1) and mitochondrial (COI and 16S rDNA) sequence data. We include representatives from populations in the east Pacific (Mexico and the Gulf of California), Indo-Pacific (Indonesia, Moorea and American Samoa), and from aquaria. The objectives of this study are to: 1) identify if there are cryptic species in the Pacific; 2) infer the phylogenetic relationships among amphi-Pacific populations; and 3) estimate the distributional patterns of animals that reproduce both sexually and asexually.