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Institut d’Ecologia Aquàtica

Distinctive genetic signatures of two fairy shrimp species with overlapping ranges in Iberian tempor

Temporary lentic water bodies host biotic assemblages adapted to the transient nature of these freshwater habitats. Fairy shrimps (Crustacea, Branchiopoda, Anostraca) are one of the most important biological components of these unique environments and have a fossil record dating back to the Middle Jurassic (>150 million years).

  1. Temporary lentic water bodies host biotic assemblages adapted to the transient nature of these freshwater habitats. Fairy shrimps (Crustacea, Branchiopoda, Anostraca) are one of the most important biological components of these unique environments and have a fossil record dating back to the Middle Jurassic (>150 million years).
  2. Some anostracan species show a geographically restricted distribution, whereas others are widely dispersed. We aimed to investigate the relationship between different geographic extents and patterns of genetic structure in species of Anostraca. Following this objective, we selected two species with contrasting ranges but overlapping geographic distributions and similar life-history traits in the study area. We analysed additional information that, from an ecological (e.g. egg-bank, niche breadth, and pond connectivity) and evolutionary (e.g. crown-group age of each species) perspective, may explain the obtained phylogeographic patterns.
  3. Between 2005 and 2018, we sampled two species of fairy shrimps (309 specimens of Branchipus cortesi and 264 specimens of Tanymastix stagnalis) from 53 temporary ponds of Portugal. We added five other locations from Spain and France to include other European locations for Tstagnalis. Additionally, we also sampled Branchipus schaefferi from two temporary water bodies (Spain and Morocco) to include in the dating analysis.
  4. Reconstructed phylogenies based on mitochondrial sequence data indicate the existence of deeply divergent clades with an unequivocal phylogeographic structure in Tstagnalis and shallower divergences in Bcortesi with a less clear geographic correspondence. We found evidence of frequent local and rare long-distance dispersal events in both species and limited intermediate dispersal, which was more common in Bcortesi. A Bayesian dating analysis using the Branchiopoda fossil record estimated the age of the most recent common ancestors of Tstagnalis and Bcortesi at 32.4 and 12.8 million years, respectively.
  5. Haplotype accumulation curves indicated that only a portion of the genetic composition of the species was sampled on each hydroperiod and showed the existence of large, genetically diverse egg banks that remain in the soil. These egg banks represent a genetic reservoir that guarantees the survival of the species because active populations from different hydroperiods may be genetically different and adapt to a changing environment.
  6. We hypothesise that the contrasting phylogeographic patterns displayed by the two fairy shrimp species may result from: (1) the earlier age of the most recent common ancestor of Tstagnalis, as older species have more time to accumulate mutations and, thus, are expected to exhibit higher genetic differentiation among populations; (2) slight differences in adult behaviour, life-history traits and cyst morphologies of Tstagnalis and Bcortesi favouring different animal dispersal vectors with distinct dispersal abilities. Therefore, phylogeographic patterns may be explained by both evolutionary and ecological processes, which operate in different time scales.

 

Lopes da Cunha, R.; Sala, J.; Machado, M.; Boix, D.; Madeira, C.; Madeira, P.; Cristo, M.; Cancela da Fonseca, L.; Castilho, R. (2021) Freshwater Biology vol.66 1680-1697. In press.

Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13782

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