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Barriers to gene flow in the deepest ocean ecosystems: Evidence from global population genomics of a cosmopolitan amphipod

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johanna Weston, Dr Evelyn Jensen, Dr Megan Hasoon, Dr James Kitson, Dr Alan Jamieson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The deepest marine ecosystem, the hadal zone, hosts endemic biodiversity resulting from geographic isolation and environmental selection pressures. However, the pan-ocean distribution of some fauna challenges the concept that the hadal zone is a series of isolated island-like habitats. Whether this remains true at the population genomic level is untested. We investigated phylogeographic patterns of the amphipod, Bathycallisoma schellenbergi, from 12 hadal features across the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern oceans and analyzed genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism markers and two mitochondrial regions. Despite a cosmopolitan distribution, populations were highly restricted to individual features with only limited gene flow between topographically connected features. This lack of connectivity suggests that populations are on separate evolutionary trajectories, with evidence of potential cryptic speciation at the Atacama Trench. Together, this global study demonstrates that the shallower ocean floor separating hadal features poses strong barriers to dispersal, driving genetic isolation and creating pockets of diversity to conserve.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Weston JNJ, Jensen EL, Hasoon MSR, Kitson JJN, Stewart HA, Jamieson AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science Advances

Year: 2022

Volume: 8

Issue: 43

Online publication date: 26/10/2022

Acceptance date: 08/09/2022

Date deposited: 07/11/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2375-2548

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo6672

PubMed id: 36288308


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Funder referenceFunder name
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Newcastle University’s Research Infrastructure Fund
Victor Vescovo of Caladan Oceanic LLC (USA
TOTAL Foundation (France)