Genome size varies considerably across taxa, and extensive research effort has gone into understanding whether variation can be explained by differences in key ecological and life-history traits among species. The extreme environmental conditions that characterize the deep sea have been hypothesized to promote large genome sizes in eukaryotes. Here we test this supposition by examining genome sizes among 13 species of deep-sea amphipods from the Mariana, Kermadec and New Hebrides trenches. Genome sizes were estimated using flow cytometry and found to vary nine-fold, ranging from 4.06 pg (4.04 Gb) in Paralicella caperesca to 34.79 pg (34.02 Gb) in Alicella gigantea. Phylogenetic independent contrast analysis identified a relationship between genome size and maximum body size, though this was largely driven by those species that display size gigantism. There was a distinct shift in the genome size trait diversification rate in the supergiant amphipod A. gigantea relative to the rest of the group. The variation in genome size observed is striking and argues against genome size being driven by a common evolutionary history, ecological niche and life-history strategy in deep-sea amphipods.
- genome size
- deep sea