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Phylogenetics and evolution of a circumarctic species complex (Cladocera: Daphnia pulex).


Weider,  L. J.
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Colbourne, J. K., Crease, T. J., Weider, L. J., Hebert, P. D. N., Dufresne, F., & Hobæk, A. (1998). Phylogenetics and evolution of a circumarctic species complex (Cladocera: Daphnia pulex). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 65(3), 347-365.

The evolutionary history of freshwater zooplankton is still relatively unknown. However, studies of the microcrustacean Daphnia have revealed interesting patterns; the daphniids that dominate ponds and lakes in the northern hemisphere may have recent origins, likely associated with the glacial advances and retreats during the Pleistocene. Moreover, they form species complexes that actively engage in hybridization and introgression. The present study examines the phylogenetic relationships among circumarctic members of the Daphnia pulex complex, through the analysis of sequence diversity in 498 nt of the ND5 mitochondrial gene. Our results suggest that the complex is composed of three major clades, two of which are subdivided into at least eight different lineages. Clearly, species in the complex shown genetic discontinuity. Many lineages originated during the Pleistocene, but at least three lineages diverged during the Pliocene. Two taxa (D. pulex, D. pulicaria), thought to be broadly distributed in the northern hemisphere, are shown to be endemic to single continents. In general, the diversification of the pulex complex is characterized by rapidly dispersed lineages spanning enormous distances and also by endemism in temperate areas. Gene flow among lineages from the temperate region of different continents are restricted to rare intercontinental migrations across a polar bridge followed by convergent morphological evolution.