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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016 / Lifestyle and Ice: The relationship between ecological specialization and response to Pleistocene climate change

E. Kašparová, A. Van De Putte, C. Marshall, and K. Janko (2015)

Lifestyle and Ice: The relationship between ecological specialization and response to Pleistocene climate change

, 10(11).

Major climatic changes in the Pleistocene had significant effects on marine organisms and the environments in which they lived. The presence of divergent patterns of demographic history even among phylogenetically closely-related species sharing climatic changes raises questions as to the respective influence of species-specific traits on population structure. In this work we tested whether the lifestyle of Antarctic notothenioid benthic and pelagic fish species from the Southern Ocean influenced the concerted population response to Pleistocene climatic fluctuations. This was done by a comparative analysis of sequence variation at the cyt b and S7 loci in nine newly sequenced and four re-analysed species. We found that all species underwent more or less intensive changes in population size but we also found consistent differences between demographic histories of pelagic and benthic species. Contemporary pelagic populations are significantly more genetically diverse and bear traces of older demographic expansions than less diverse benthic species that show evidence of more recent population expansions. Our findings suggest that the lifestyles of different species have strong influences on their responses to the same environmental events. Our data, in conjunction with previous studies showing a constant diversification tempo of these species during the Pleistocene, support the hypothesis that Pleistocene glaciations had a smaller effect on pelagic species than on benthic species whose survival may have relied upon ephemeral refugia in shallow shelf waters. These findings suggest that the interaction between lifestyle and environmental changes should be considered in genetic analyses. © 2015 Kašparová et al.

Antarctica, benthos, climate change, ecological specialization, environmental change, genetic analysis, glaciation, lifestyle, pelagic fish, Pleistocene, population size, sea, animal, Bayes theorem, fish, gene locus, genetic variation, genetics, physiology, population density, cytochrome b, mitochondrial DNA, Animals, Cytochromes b, DNA, Mitochondrial, Fishes, Genetic Loci
Correspondence Address: Kašparová, E.; Laboratory of Fish Genetics, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Rumburska 89, Czech Republic; email:
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138766
  • ISSN: 19326203 (ISSN)

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