Contributions to Zoology, 86 (4) – 2017Kennet Lundin; Tatyana Korshunova; Klas Malmberg; Alexander Martynov: Intersection of historical museum collections and modern systematics: a relict population of the Arctic nudibranch Dendronotus velifer G.O. Sars, 1878 in a Swedish fjord

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Abstract

Based on morphological, bathymetric and molecular data comparing recently collected Arctic and North Atlantic specimens with morphological and bathymetrical data on historical museum specimens, a unique relict population of the deep-water mollusc Dendronotus velifer G.O. Sars, 1878 (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) is shown to have existed in the deepest section of the Swedish Gullmar Fjord (the only true silled fjord in Sweden) at least until the middle of the 20th century. This population is more than 1500 km away from the nearest point in the species’ distributional range in the Arctic Ocean today. Using an integrative approach incorporating the data mentioned above, including genetic distances, from recently collected specimens taken from the Arctic Ocean, D. velifer is validated and its species status is restored, for the first time in more than a century after being regarded as a junior synonym of D. robustus. The bathymetric data for historical and recently collected specimens of D. velifer demonstrate significant differences compared to the shallow-water species D. robustus. The findings support the necessity of a stronger protection for the unique marine habitats of the Gullmar Fjord.