Amplicon sequencing of 42 nuclear loci supports directional gene flow between South Pacific populations of a hydrothermal vent limpet.


In the past few decades, population genetics and phylogeographic studies have improved our knowledge of connectivity and population demography in marine environments. Studies of deep-sea hydrothermal vent populations have identified barriers to gene flow, hybrid zones, and demographic events, such as historical population expansions and contractions. These deep-sea studies, however, used few loci, which limit the amount of information they provided for coalescent analysis and thus our ability to confidently test complex population dynamics scenarios. In this study, we investigated population structure, demographic history, and gene flow directionality among four Western Pacific hydrothermal vent populations of the vent limpet Lepetodrilus aff. schrolli. These vent sites are located in the Manus and Lau back-arc basins, currently of great interest for deep-sea mineral extraction. A total of 42 loci were sequenced from each individual using high-throughput amplicon sequencing. Amplicon sequences were analyzed using both genetic variant clustering methods and evolutionary coalescent approaches. Like most previously investigated vent species in the South Pacific, L. aff. schrolli showed no genetic structure within basins but significant differentiation between basins. We inferred significant directional gene flow from Manus Basin to Lau Basin, with low to no gene flow in the opposite direction. This study is one of the very few marine population studies using >10 loci for coalescent analysis and serves as a guide for future marine population studies.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Plouviez, Sophie, Abigail Leavitt LaBella, David W Weisrock, FA Bastiaan von Meijenfeldt, Bernard Ball, Joseph E Neigel and Cindy L Van Dover (2019). Amplicon sequencing of 42 nuclear loci supports directional gene flow between South Pacific populations of a hydrothermal vent limpet. Ecology and evolution, 9(11). pp. 6568–6580. 10.1002/ece3.5235 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.


Van Dover

Cindy Van Dover

Harvey W. Smith Distinguished Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences

Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover is a deep-sea biologist with an interest in ocean exploration and the ecology of chemosynthetic ecosystems. She began her work in this field in 1982, joining the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. After earning a Master's degree in ecology from UCLA in 1985, she continued her graduate education in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Biological Oceanography. There she joined numerous expeditions and published on diverse topics such as reproductive strategies and recruitment of vent invertebrates, vent food webs, and taxonomic descriptions of new species. In 1989, she described a novel photoreceptor in a vent invertebrate, which in turn led to discovery and characterization of a geothermal source of light at vents and investigations of its biological significance. On receiving her Ph.D. in 1989, Van Dover joined the group that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. She qualified as pilot in 1990 and was pilot-in-command of 48 dives. Her work with ALVIN and other deep-submergence assets has taken her to nearly all of the known vent fields in the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as to deep-water seamounts, seeps, and other significant seafloor features. Her current research focuses primarily on the study of biodiversity, biogeography, and connectivity of invertebrates from chemosynthetic ecosystems and invertebrate functional anatomy.  in addition, she is active in developing pre-industrialization policy and management strategies for deep-sea resources. She has published more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is an active participant and Chief Scientist in NSF-and NOAA-sponsored field programs to deep-sea environments. 
In addition to research, Van Dover has authored a popular book for the lay audience about the deep sea and her experiences as an ALVIN pilot (Deep-Ocean Journeys; Addison-Wesley, 1997, a.k.a. The Octopus's Garden). She is also the author of the first textbook on hydrothermal vents (The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents; Princeton University Press, 2000). Van Dover is curator of Beyond the Edge of the Sea, a traveling exhibition of illustrations of deep-sea organisms and environments by artist Karen Jacobsen ( and is currently project lead for Science and Art at the Moment of Discovery, hosting 6 artists (water color, acrylic, experimental media, batik) on a deep-sea research expedition in June 2012.  Her work has been featured in Science News, Discover Magazine, The New York Times, and National Public Radio. Dr. Van Dover was named Virginia Outstanding Scientist in 2006 and is a Fulbright Scholar (France 2004), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Distinguished Lecturer for the NSF Ridge 2000 Program. She is the inaugural recipient of the Mines Medal for exceptional leadership and innovation, a George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni Award (Cook College, Rutgers University), a Career Awardee from the National Science Foundation, and a William & Mary Alumni Fellowship Awardee for Outstanding Teaching. She is currently the Harvey W Smith Distinguished Professor of Biological Oceanography at Duke University, Chair of the Division of Marine Science and Conservation, and Director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.