Biodiversity and Conservation


Molecular characterization and sexual analysis of the clam shrimp

Students:
Keila M. Avilés López, B.Sc.
José C. Rivera García, B.Sc.

PI:
Juan A. Negrón Berríos, Ph.D.

The genus Eulimnadia is a crustacean of the family Limnadiidae, also known as clam shrimp. It is an unusual species and one of the oldest, having androdioecia (mixture of males and hermaphrodites). These characteristics make Eulimnadia considered an important organism, whose evolutionary relationships have been questioned by the scientific community for decades. This research studied Eulimnadia, from a pond located in the town of Cayey, Puerto Rico, which has many similarities with Eulimnadia texana. An artificial habitat has been established for the optimal growth of this species, in which different environmental conditions have been tested. At this time we are trying to establish if the Puerto Rican species is actually Eulimnadia texana or a new species. In addition to the morphological characterization, we are using the COI gene (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) as identification criteria. DNA was isolated from clam shrimp from Puerto Rico and a segment of the COI gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results have been analyzed and compared to determine if they are working with Eulimnadia texana or if it is a new species.