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      On the Plakobranchidae (Gastropoda, Sacoglossa) from soft sediment habitats of Koh Tao, Gulf of Thailand, with descriptions of two new species

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          Research in recent years have provided rapid advances in biogeographic and taxonomic documentation of sea slugs around the world. However, efforts are lacking in surveying most coastlines and habitats in South-East Asia. Recent studies from the Gulf of Thailand have indicated that a wealth of unexplored sea slug diversity and ecology may be gained from an investigation of soft sediment habitats beyond the reef slopes. Additionally, the waters of Koh Tao have been found to host regionally high levels of sea slug diversity with several species awaiting taxonomic clarification. In this work the initial findings of an expanded survey effort from the waters around Koh Tao are provided, with the identity of two soft sediment-associated sacoglossan species in the family Plakobranchidae being investigated. By integrating morphological and molecular analyses, the species Plakobranchus noctisstellatus sp. nov. and Elysia aowthai sp. nov. are described and species complexes surrounding Plakobranchus ocellatus van Hasselt, 1824 and Elysia japonica Eliot, 1913 are discussed. The topics of morphological variability and the cryptic species problem are also discussed.

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          Bio Edit; a user-friendly biological sequence aliment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT

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            Gastropod evolutionary rates and phylogenetic relationships assessed using partial 28S rDNA and histone H3 sequences

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              Transcriptomic Evidence That Longevity of Acquired Plastids in the Photosynthetic Slugs Elysia timida and Plakobranchus ocellatus Does Not Entail Lateral Transfer of Algal Nuclear Genes

              Sacoglossan sea slugs are unique in the animal kingdom in that they sequester and maintain active plastids that they acquire from the siphonaceous algae upon which they feed, making the animals photosynthetic. Although most sacoglossan species digest their freshly ingested plastids within hours, four species from the family Plakobranchidae retain their stolen plastids (kleptoplasts) in a photosynthetically active state on timescales of weeks to months. The molecular basis of plastid maintenance within the cytosol of digestive gland cells in these photosynthetic metazoans is yet unknown but is widely thought to involve gene transfer from the algal food source to the slugs based upon previous investigations of single genes. Indeed, normal plastid development requires hundreds of nuclear-encoded proteins, with protein turnover in photosystem II in particular known to be rapid under various conditions. Moreover, only algal plastids, not the algal nuclei, are sequestered by the animals during feeding. If algal nuclear genes are transferred to the animal either during feeding or in the germ line, and if they are expressed, then they should be readily detectable with deep-sequencing methods. We have sequenced expressed mRNAs from actively photosynthesizing, starved individuals of two photosynthetic sea slug species, Plakobranchus ocellatus Van Hasselt, 1824 and Elysia timida Risso, 1818. We find that nuclear-encoded, algal-derived genes specific to photosynthetic function are expressed neither in P. ocellatus nor in E. timida. Despite their dramatic plastid longevity, these photosynthetic sacoglossan slugs do not express genes acquired from algal nuclei in order to maintain plastid function.

                Author and article information

                Pensoft Publishers
                17 September 2020
                : 969
                : 85-121
                [1 ] Reef Biology Research Group, Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
                [2 ] Conservation Diver, 7321 Timber Trail Road, Evergreen, Colorado, 80439, USA
                [3 ] The American University of Paris, Department of Computer Science Math and Environmental Science, 6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris, France
                [4 ] Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, 55 rue de Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
                [5 ] Research Center on Animal Cognition (CRCA), Center for Integrative Biology (CBI); CNRS, University Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III, France
                [6 ] Center of Excellence for Marine Biotechnology, Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Suchana Chavanich ( Suchana.C@ 123456chula.ac.th )

                Academic editor: Nathalie Yonow

                Rahul Mehrotra, Manuel Caballer Gutierrez, Chad M. Scott, Spencer Arnold, Coline Monchanin, Suchana Chavanich

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Funded by: Chulalongkorn University 501100002873 http://doi.org/10.13039/501100002873
                Research Article
                Biodiversity & Conservation
                Ecology & Environmental sciences


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