Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 809–815 | Cite as

The southernmost worm, Scottnema lindsayae (Nematoda): diversity, dispersal and ecological stability

  • B. J. AdamsEmail author
  • D. H. Wall
  • U. Gozel
  • A. R. Dillman
  • J. M. Chaston
  • I. D. Hogg
Original Paper


The nematode worm Scottnema lindsayae (Cephalobidae) was found near the base of the Beardmore Glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains 83.48°S, over 5° further south than previously recorded. Identification was confirmed using morphological analyses of males, females and juvenile stages, and by DNA sequencing of the ITS1 region of the ribosomal RNA tandem repeat unit. These data revealed no discernable morphological or ITS rDNA sequence variation between the extreme southern population of S. lindsayae and disparate populations from the McMurdo Dry Valleys in south Victoria Land (77–78°S). Based on these results, we suggest that broadcast dispersal, with accompanying high rates of gene flow, establish the extreme southern distribution of the phylum Nematoda. High abundance, low rates of diversification and lack of an apparent biogeographic structure across latitudinal and environmental gradients implies that their presence in simple Antarctic soil ecosystems is stable, so long as physical and biological controls on their distributions remain within viable parameters. Recent evidence that S. lindsayae populations are in decline suggests that their high dispersal rates are insufficient to buffer current, unfavorable environmental changes and may foreshadow longer-term ecosystem disruption.


Aeolian Transport Syowa Station Live Nematode Transantarctic Mountain Soil Invertebrate Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Mark St. John, Berry Lyons, John Barrett, Ross Virginia, Chris McKay, members of the BYU Nematode Evolution Lab and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms of an early draft of this manuscript. Andrew Parsons, Tom Cioppa, Steve Blecker, John Barrett and Jennifer Mercer assisted in the field and laboratory. The staff of the Crary Laboratory, at McMurdo Station, PHI Helicopters, and Rae Spain provided logistical support. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation Grants 00 96250 and 98 13061 to DHW and through logistic support from Antarctica New Zealand to IDH. This project contributes to the Evolution and Biodiversity in Antarctica (EBA) Programme of SCAR.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Adams
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. H. Wall
    • 2
  • U. Gozel
    • 3
  • A. R. Dillman
    • 1
  • J. M. Chaston
    • 1
    • 5
  • I. D. Hogg
    • 4
  1. 1.Microbiology & Molecular Biology Department and Evolutionary Ecology LaboratoriesBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and Department of BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant ProtectionUniversity of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart, Faculty of AgricultureCanakkaleTurkey
  4. 4.Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of BacteriologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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