Biogeographical patterns of the sea anemone species Actinostella flosculifera (Le Sueur, 1817) (Cnidaria; Anthozoa; Actiniaria) and a population study of the coasts of eastern Central and South America and the Canary Islands
The Cnidaria phylum is composed of invertebrate organisms, mainly marine, such as jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and sea wasps, among others. Cnidarians are characterized by their ability to produce urticating organelles called cnidocysts, which can be classified according to their type (specialized organelle) or their function (attack, defense or the formation of an external tube). This project will study a complex of individuals from different populations of the species Actinostella flosculifera (Le Sueur, 1817) (Actiniaria), which is characterized by a collar or marginal ruff, formed by a series of papillae fused between the column and the margin, as well as longitudinal rows of warts from the lower fringe to the middle of the column, a well-developed pedal disc and 48 tentacles arranged in four cycles, simple, conical and smooth. Since its discovery in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands (Caribbean Sea) in 1817, a series of morphological and chromatic variation has been reported throughout West America and East Africa. Likewise, the relationships between the different populations of the A. flosculifera complex and the potential for finding cryptic species are still uncertain. In addition, there are no studies on this species from a molecular point of view or comparisons at the population level. This project proposes the collection of 50 species in the rocky intertidal of ten localities distributed in six countries. To achieve this objective, their external and internal morphology and diversity of cnidocystes will be compared. In addition, the next generation sequencing method (NGS) using the restriction site-associated DNA sequencing marker (RAD-seq) will be used to understand the origin and genetic and morphological variations of the Actinostella complex. It is expected that this study will contribute to the knowledge of the distribution of the species, and to understand the interpopulation relationships, biogeographical patterns and its evolutionary history.
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