Long distance dispersal of zooplankton endemic to isolated mountaintops--an example of an ecological process operating on an evolutionary time scale.

PloS One
Bram VanschoenwinkelLuc Brendonck


Recent findings suggest a convergence of time scales between ecological and evolutionary processes which is usually explained in terms of rapid micro evolution resulting in evolution on ecological time scales. A similar convergence, however, can also emerge when slow ecological processes take place on evolutionary time scales. A good example of such a slow ecological process is the colonization of remote aquatic habitats by passively dispersed zooplankton. Using variation at the protein coding mitochondrial COI gene, we investigated the balance between mutation and migration as drivers of genetic diversity in two Branchipodopsis fairy shrimp species (Crustacea, Anostraca) endemic to remote temporary rock pool clusters at the summit of isolated mountaintops in central South Africa. We showed that both species colonized the region almost simultaneously c. 0.8 My ago, but exhibit contrasting patterns of regional genetic diversity and demographic history. The haplotype network of the common B. cf. wolfi showed clear evidence of 11 long distance dispersal events (up to 140 km) with five haplotypes that are shared among distant inselbergs, as well as some more spatially isolated derivates. Similar patterns were not observed for B. dr...Continue Reading


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Apr 25, 2012·PloS One·Bram VanschoenwinkelLuc Brendonck
Dec 12, 2018·Limnology and Oceanography Letters·J A RivasE J Walsh

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