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Kohnert, P. C.; Cerwenka, A. F.; Brandt, A. and Schroedl, M. (2020): Pteropods from the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench and the sea of Okhotsk (Euopisthobranchia;Gastropoda). In: Progress in Oceanography, Vol. 181, 102259

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Pteropods are holopelagic marine snails and slugs that are of particular interest to science due to their role in marine food webs, global carbon cycle and their potential sensitivity to ocean change. Due to their pelagic, often exclusively offshore occurrence, samples are difficult to obtain, resulting in a lack of knowledge about their physiology, ecology, anatomy, geographical ranges, phylogenetic relationships and reproductive biology. Despite a recent increase in interest surrounding pteropod taxonomy, many evolutionary uncertainties remain due to limited taxon sampling and inavailability of molecular vouchers, in particular for the lesser investigated groups Pseudothecosomata and Gymnosomata. The Northwest Pacific Ocean is one of the least investigated areas for pteropods and in the adjacent semi-enclosed Sea of Okhotsk basin, current knowledge is restricted to the epipelagic zone. We summarize results from plankton hauls (from up to 5900 m depth) conducted during the joint German/Russian SokhoBio and KuramBio II cruises to the Sea of Okhotsk and the Kuril-Kamchatka-Trench region. This study presents an integrative taxonomic overview of six pteropod species identified by detailed morphological methods, including serial semithin sectioning, mu CT and SEM scanning supported by multimarker (COI, 28S, and H3) genetic barcoding. We found four species of Gymnosomata slugs (Clione limacina, Clione okhotensis, Notobranchaea grandis and Thliptodon sp.), three species of Euthecosomata snails (Limacina helicina and two genetically delimited Clio spp.) and one shelled pseudothecosome species that is probably new to science (Peracle n. sp.). Multilocus phylogenetic analyses support monophyly of major traditional groups such as Pteropoda, Thecosomata, Pseudothecosomata and Gymnosomata. Micro-CT scanning was applied for the first time on pteropod soft bodies, allowing direct comparison between detailed anatomical peculiarities and molecular barcodes of the respective species. Furthermore, taxonomic positions, geographical ranges and potential dispersal barriers are discussed, with implications for future biodiversity comparisons. This study serves as a solid foundation for monitoring pteropods in a changing ocean.

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