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Lara Puetz

Genetic diversity and geographical structure of deep sea hydrothermal vent tubeworms (Ridgeia piscesae) in fragmented habitats on the Endeavor segment of Juan de Fuca Ridge

Lara Puetz
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I completed my BSc at Dalhousie University with First Class Honours in Marine Biology and Oceanography. While attending university I was presented with many amazing opportunities which included acoustically monitoring sperm whales, volunteering on a giant sea scallop farm, suturing salmon and spending a field season assisting in photographing and collecting genetic samples of pilot whales. Recently, I completed a six month CIDA internship as a fisheries research assistant in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Verena Tunnicliffe and John Taylor

University of Victoria, Dept. of Biology

09/2011 - 12/2013

Population Connectivity (PC-11): Source-sink populations in the Endeavour MPA

The natural instability of hydrothermal vents creates non-equilibrium conditions between habitat patches and causes frequent local population extinction and recolonization events. Rapid growth rates, high reproductive output and effective dispersal capabilities are required for species to persist at hydrothermal vents. Because subpopulations are connected through larval transfer between fragmented habitats and it is likely that individuals from good quality habitats contribute more to the larval pool than those from poorer quality habitats; a source-sink metapopulation dynamic may exist in one of the major foundation species of the Endeavor Hot Vents MPA, the vent tubeworm (Ridgeia piscesae).

Specific project/thesis goals:

    1. Determine the genetic diversity and effective population size of Ridgeia piscesae in optimal and suboptimal hydrothermal vent conditions in order to assess whether certain subpopulation contributes more to the genetic pool than others
    2. Map the geographical structure of vent tubeworm metapopulations in the Endeavor MPA vent field and compare these findings to the distribution of genetic diversity of R. piscesae
    3. Understand how larval dispersal dynamics link tubeworm metapopulations across fragmented habitats

The exchange of individuals is critical in the persistence of fragmented populations at hydrothermal vents. Understanding the significant of “source” populations and how they affect the role of connectivity and the distribution of genetic diversity between subpopulations is essential to making appropriate recommendations to the effective management of foundation species in marine protected areas.

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