Recent studies have revealed the impact of the drastic climate change during the last glacial period on coastal marine and anadromous species in the marginal seas of the northwestern Pacific Ocean; however, its influence on deep-sea species remains poorly understood. To compare the effects of the last glacial period on populations from the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, we examined the mitochondrial control region and cytochrome b gene sequences of Lycodes matsubarai, a deepsea demersal fish that inhabits these two seas. Our results showed clear genetic differentiation of populations between the two seas. The populations may have diverged during the last glacial period, probably as a result of vicariance due to the drastic sea level change. The population in the Sea of Okhotsk was larger than that in the Sea of Japan, but suddenly decreased after the last glacial period. However, the Sea of Japan population expanded after the last glacial period, coincident with high levels of oxygenation in deep-sea areas. These results elucidate regional-scale impacts of climate change on deep-sea organisms.
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Vol. 31 • No. 6