|Survey of the Japanese coast reveals abundant placozoan populations in the Northern Pacific Ocean|Nakano, H. (2014). Survey of the Japanese coast reveals abundant placozoan populations in the Northern Pacific Ocean. NPG Scientific Reports 4( 5356): 5. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep05356
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Placozoans are the simplest extant free-living animals consisting of only five cell types and lacking neurons and muscle cells. Their phylogenetic position implies they are important for uncovering the origins of metazoans. Although recent studies show multiple groups within the phylum, most placozoan research has been performed on laboratory-cultured clones deriving from a single specimen. Reports of placozoan discovery are concentrated in the tropic and subtropic seas, especially in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Here, I report the unexpected abundance of placozoans from the Japanese coast. They were found from all six studied sites, even during winter for two sites, suggesting that they are more tolerant to low temperatures than previously regarded. These results suggest an unknown abundance of placozoans in the Northern Pacific Ocean and further studies on these populations may be essential in solving important biological problems of the phylum.