Living on the edge: reproduction, dispersal potential, maternal effects and local adaptation in aquatic, extremophilic invertebrates
Isolated extreme habitats are ideally suited to investigate pivotal ecological processes such as niche use, local adaptation and dispersal. Extremophilic animals living in isolated habitats face the problem that dispersal is limited through the absence of suitable dispersal corridors, which in turn facilitates local adaptation. We used five rotifer isolates from extremely acidic mining lakes with a pH of below 3 as model organisms to test whether these isolates are acidotolerant or acidophilic, whether they survive and reproduce at their niche edges (here pH 2 and circum-neutral pH) and whether local adaptation has evolved. To evaluate potential dispersal limitation, we tested whether animals and their parthenogenetic eggs survive and remain reproductive or viable at unfavourable pH-conditions. All five isolates were acidophilic with a pH-optimum in the range of 4–6, which is well above the pH (< 3) of their lakes of origin. At unfavourable high pH, in four out of the five isolates parthenogenetic females produced a high number of non-viable eggs. Females and eggs produced at favourable pH (4) remained vital at an otherwise unfavourable pH of 7, indicating that for dispersal no acidic dispersal corridors are necessary. Common garden experiments revealed no clear evidence for local adaptation in any of the five isolates. Despite their acidophilic nature, all five isolates can potentially disperse via circum-neutral water bodies as long as their residence time is short, suggesting a broader “dispersal niche” than their realized niche. Local adaptation might have been hampered by the low population sizes of the rotifers in their isolated habitat and the short time span the mining lakes have existed.
KeywordsCommon garden experiments Extreme habitats Extremophiles Rotifers Zooplankton
We greatly acknowledge the excellent support of Christina Schirmer and Michael Moser in the laboratory. Financial support was provided by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project P20118 (TW).
GW and TW conceived the study. GW, TW and CN designed the experiments. GW, CN and JS performed the experiments. GW analyzed the data. GW wrote and TW and CN commented on the manuscript.
- Bissinger V, Jander J, Tittel J (2000) A new medium free of organic carbon to cultivate organisms from extremely acidic mining lakes (pH 2.7). Acta Hydroch Hydrob 28:310–312. https://doi.org/10.1002/1521-401X(200012)28:6%3c310:AID-AHEH310%3e3.0.CO;2-H CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cottenie K, Michels E, Nuytten N, de Meester L (2003) Zooplankton metacommunity structure: regional vs. local processes in highly interconnected ponds. Ecology 84:991–1000. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2003)084%5b0991:ZMSRVL%5d2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jenkins DG, Buikema AL (1998) Do similar communities develop in similar sites? A test with zooplankton structure and function. Ecol Monogr 68:421–443. https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9615(1998)068%5b0421:DSCDIS%5d2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kwong YTJ, Lawrence JR (1998) Acid generation and metal immobilization in the vicinity of a naturally acidic lake in Central Yukon Territory, Canada. In: Geller W, Klapper H, Salomons W (eds) Acidic mine drainage. Springer, Berlin, pp 65–86Google Scholar
- Pedrozo F, Kelly L, Diaz M, Temporetti P, Baffico G, Kringel R, Friese K, Mages M, Geller W, Woelfl S (2001) First results on the water chemistry, algae and trophic status of an Andean acidic lake system of volcanic origin in Patagonia (Lake Caviahue). Hydrobiologia 452:129–137. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011984212798 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Savolainen O, Pyhäjärvi T, Knürr T (2007) Gene flow and local adaptation in trees. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 38:595–619. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.38.091206.095646 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Slatkin M (1985) Gene flow in natural populations. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 16:393–430. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.es.16.110185.002141 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weisse T, Moser M, Scheffel U, Stadler P, Berendonk T, Weithoff G, Berger H (2013b) Systematics and species-specific response to pH of Oxytricha acidotolerans sp. nov. and Urosomoida sp. (Ciliophora, Hypotricha) from acid mining lakes. Eur J Protistol 49:255–271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejop.2012.08.001 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar