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Fitting an important piece in the jigsaw of the cold seep's history: evolution and connectivity of siboglinid polychaetes from South Atlantic Ocean deep waters

Grant number: 19/18136-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Biological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Paulo Yukio Gomes Sumida
Grantee:Gilberto Bergamo Neto
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Cold seeps are chemosynthesis-driven ecosystems formed by exudation of hydrocarbon gases and fluids from deep-sea floor sediments. Communities in these low redox ecosystems depend on the extraction of energy by microbes. Microorganisms can live in symbiosis, forming a complex interaction between prokaryotic and eukaryotic species. A unique example in cold seeps is are the polychaetes of the family Siboglinidae that lack digestive tracts bearing a specialized organ called trophosome that hosts chemosynthetic bacteria. Siboglinids are very common at cold seep especially the Vestimentifera, a group that produces large chitinous tubes. Despite the abundant literature on siboglinids worldwide, little is known of organisms living in the South Atlantic Ocean. The present project will study the evolutionary history and connectivity of siboglinids from seeps at the continental margin of Brazil and West Africa. Samples from the Brazilian continental margin will be collected using the new IOUSP ROV Perseo GTV mod. 2018 through an R&D project with Shell Brazilian Petroleum. African material is already collected from Gabon and Congo continental margins and are stored in France, at IFREMER, and access to these samples is granted through a partnership with Dr Karine Olu from IFREMER, who will act as co-supervisor of this project. Partnerships with museum and biological collections are intended to acquire siboglinids from other localities. All material available will be characterized by morphology using specialized bibliography and by molecular data, using mitochondrial (COI and 16S) and nuclear markers (18S and 28S). Molecular data will be used to infer the evolutionary history of the group, using proper software, and the genetic diversity of populations to infer the connectivity. Reproductive biology analysis, mainly gametogenesis, will add an important ecological view to the project. (AU)