Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 10, pp 1205–1216 | Cite as

Genetic differentiation between Arctic and Antarctic monothalamous foraminiferans

  • Jan Pawlowski
  • Wojciech Majewski
  • David Longet
  • Jackie Guiard
  • Tomas Cedhagen
  • Andrew J. Gooday
  • Sergey Korsun
  • Andrea A. Habura
  • Samuel S. Bowser
Original Paper


Monothalamous (single-chambered) foraminifers are a major component of the benthic meiofauna in high latitude regions. Several morphologically similar species are common in the Arctic and Antarctic. However, it is uncertain whether these morphospecies are genetically identical, or whether their accurate identification is compromised by a lack of distinctive morphological features. To determine the relationship between Arctic and Antarctic species, we have compared SSU rDNA sequences of specimens belonging to four morphotaxa: Micrometula, Psammophaga, Gloiogullmia, and one morphospecies Hippocrepinella hirudinea from western Svalbard (Arctic) and McMurdo Sound (Antarctic). Wherever possible, we include in our analyses representatives of these taxa from the deep Arctic and Southern Oceans, as well as from Northern European fjords. We found that in all cases, the bipolar populations were clearly distinct genetically. As expected, Arctic specimens were usually more closely related to those from Northern Europe than to their Antarctic representatives. The deep-sea specimens from Weddell Sea branched as a sister to the McMurdo Sound population, while those from the Arctic Ocean clustered with ones from Norwegian fjords. Our study has revealed a high number of cryptic species within each of the examined genera, and demonstrates the unexplored potential of monothalamous foraminifers for use as a tool to evaluate the origin and biogeography of polar meiofauna.


Foraminifera Bipolar distribution SSU rDNA Molecular diversity Protists 



We thank Tom Wilding for help in collecting foraminifers from Scotland. We also thank A. Brandt, B. Hilbig, D. Fütterer, and the captain and crew of RV Polarstern (ANDEEP 2 cruise), as well as M. Hald, and the captain and crew of RV Jan Mayen (Svalbard cruise) for their help in collecting foraminifers from the Weddell Sea, Svalbard, and Arctic Ocean. We are indebted to D. Coons, N. Pollock, S. Alexander, P. Forte, J. Bernhard, G. Gwardschaladse for diving, S. Hanes for field assistance, as well as the staffs of the NSF Office of Polar Programs, Raytheon Polar Services, and Petroleum Helicopters Incorporated for Antarctic logistic support. José Fahrni and Simon Mérolle helped obtain molecular data. This work was supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (31-59145.99 and 3100A0-112645 to JP), the Research Council of Norway (141050/730), the Danish Natural Science Research Council (9509 1435 to TC), and the U.S. National Science Foundation (DEB-0445181 and ANT-0440769 to SSB).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Pawlowski
    • 1
  • Wojciech Majewski
    • 2
  • David Longet
    • 1
  • Jackie Guiard
    • 1
  • Tomas Cedhagen
    • 3
  • Andrew J. Gooday
    • 4
  • Sergey Korsun
    • 5
  • Andrea A. Habura
    • 6
  • Samuel S. Bowser
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Animal BiologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Instytut Paleobiologii, PANWarszawaPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences, Department of Marine EcologyUniversity of AarhusAarhus NDenmark
  4. 4.National Oceanography CentreSouthamptonUK
  5. 5.Shirshov Institute of OceanologyMoscowRussia
  6. 6.Department of HealthWadsworth CenterAlbanyUSA

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