Erik Jeppesen

Environment not dispersal limitation drives clonal composition of Arctic Daphnia in a recently deglaciated area

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  • Tsegazeabe H. Haileselasie, Katholieke Univ Leuven, KU Leuven, Lab Aquat Ecol Evolut & Conservat, Mekelle Univ, Mekelle University, CNCS, Dept Biol
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  • Joachim Mergeay, Katholieke Univ Leuven, KU Leuven, Lab Aquat Ecol Evolut & Conservat, Res Inst Nat & Forest
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  • Lawrence J. Weider, Univ Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma - Norman, University of Oklahoma System, Dept Biol, Program Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
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  • Ruben Sommaruga, Univ Innsbruck, University of Innsbruck, Lake & Glacier Res Grp, Inst Ecol
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  • Thomas A. Davidson
  • Mariana Meerhoff
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  • Hartmut Arndt, Univ Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne Bioctr, Inst Zool, Gen Ecol
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  • Klaus Juergens, Leibniz Inst Balt Sea Res, Biol Oceanog Dept
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  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Luc De Meester, Katholieke Univ Leuven, KU Leuven, Lab Aquat Ecol Evolut & Conservat

One of the most prominent manifestations of the ongoing climate warming is the retreat of glaciers and ice sheets around the world. Retreating glaciers result in the formation of new ponds and lakes, which are available for colonization. The gradual appearance of these new habitat patches allows us to determine to what extent the composition of asexual Daphnia (water flea) populations is affected by environmental drivers vs. dispersal limitation. Here, we used a landscape genetics approach to assess the processes structuring the clonal composition of species in the D. pulex species complex that have colonized periglacial habitats created by ice-sheet retreat in western Greenland. We analysed 61 populations from a young (<50 years) and an old cluster (> 150 years) of lakes and ponds. We identified 42 asexual clones that varied widely in spatial distribution. Beta-diversity was higher among older than among younger systems. Lineage sorting by the environment explained 14% of the variation in clonal composition whereas the pure effect of geographical distance was very small and statistically insignificant (R-adj(2) = 0.010, P = 0.085). Dispersal limitation did not seem important, even among young habitat patches. The observation of several tens of clones colonizing the area combined with environmentally driven clonal composition of populations illustrates that population assembly of asexual species in the Arctic is structured by environmental gradients reflecting differences in the ecology of clones.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Ecology
Pages (from-to)5830-5842
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

    Research areas

  • climate change, colonization, founder effect, isolation-by-colonization, isolation-by-dispersal limitation, landscape genetics, WEST GREENLAND, POPULATION-STRUCTURE, NEIGHBOR MATRICES, AQUATIC ORGANISMS, JAKOBSHAVN ISBRAE, TROPICAL ANDES, LIFE-HISTORY, SPECIES DATA, GENE FLOW, PULEX

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