Cepeda, G.D., Blanco-Bercial, L., Bucklin, A., Berón, C.M., Viñas, M.D. 2012. Molecular systematic of three species of Oithona (Copepoda, Cyclopoida) from the Atlantic Ocean: comparative analysis using 28S rDNA. PLoS ONE 7, e35861 (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035861)

Species of Oithona (Copepoda, Cyclopoida) are highly abundant, ecologically important, and widely distributed throughout the world oceans. Although there are valid and detailed descriptions of the species, routine species identifications remain challenging due to their small size, subtle morphological diagnostic traits, and the description of geographic forms or varieties. This study examined three species of Oithona (O. similis, O. atlantica and O. nana) occurring in the Argentine sector of the South Atlantic Ocean based on DNA sequence variation of a 575 base-pair region of 28S rDNA, with comparative analysis of these species from other North and South Atlantic regions. DNA sequence variation clearly resolved and discriminated the species, and revealed low levels of intraspecific variation among North and South Atlantic populations of each species. The 28S rDNA region was thus shown to provide an accurate and reliable means of identifying the species throughout the sampled domain. Analysis of 28S rDNA variation for additional species collected throughout the global ocean will be useful to accurately characterize biogeographical distributions of the species and to examine phylogenetic relationships among them.