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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dissertation Blogging, Part 5: New Species of Alvinocaris

In preparation for my comprehensive examination next week and because its International Dissertation Writing Month, I will be posting my thesis proposal as I madly try to finish it all in time over the next few days. Feel free to question, correct, nitpick, criticize (constructively, I'm in a fragile state right now!), comment, praise me and make suggestions for improvement. And yes, I'm freakin' out!!!!


A new species of Alvinocaris (Crustacea: Decapoda: Alvinocarididae) from hydrothermal vents at the Lau Basin, southwest Pacific, and a key to the species of Alvinocarididae

Alvinocaris sp. nov. on Bathymodiolus brevior. The little limpet is Lepetodrilus schrolli. Photo copyright C.R. Fisher/Ridge2000.

My coauthor from Station Biologique de Roscoff and I have described a new species caridean shrimp in the family Alvinocarididae. This family of shrimp was split off from the Bresiliidae in late 1990's and forms a monophyletic unit that is adapted to deep sea reducing environments such as seeps and vents. To date, no other alvinocaridid has been confirmed from a non-reducing environment. Our species is very characteristic from other alvinocaridids in the shape of the telson and armature of the pereopods, or the legs. I just got the reviews from this paper on Monday and will be making the revisions, therefore I will not go into too much detail until it is published. Expect a full blown review later, but until then here is the abstract as it was submitted.

Abstract: We describe Alvinocaris (have to wait till its published to see the name!) sp. n. from hydrothermal fields at the East-Lau Spreading centre (ELSC). This species is larger than other alvinocaridids at the ELSC and appears to preferentially inhabit mussel beds composed of Bathymodiolus brevior. A. (name removed) differs from all known Alvinocaris by a distinctive, deep notch mesially on the telson. Suites of morphological characters separate A. (na na nana na) from other alvinocaridids. We analyze the degree of morphological variation in A. (yakity yak) and affinities of the Pacific Alvinocaris. A. (can't touch this) is also fit into a phylogeny of the Alvinocarididae using the mitochondrial COI gene and phylogenetic relationships are discussed. A key to the species of the family Alvinocarididae is included with locality information.

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