Polar Biology

, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 909–918 | Cite as

Metabolic rate, genetic and microclimate variation among springtail populations from sub-Antarctic Marion Island

  • Angela McGaughranEmail author
  • Peter Convey
  • Mark I. Stevens
  • Steven L. Chown
Original Paper


Measurement of metabolic rates (made at 10°C) of individuals of the springtail Cryptopygus antarcticus travei from six geographically distinct populations on sub-Antarctic Marion Island were combined with mitochondrial DNA (COI) haplotype analysis to examine in parallel both physiological and genetic variation of distinct populations. We found evidence of genetic differentiation among populations and a general indication of long-term isolation with limited gene flow. While we found support for an overall pattern of metabolic rate structure among populations from different geographic locations on the island (mean rate = 0.0009–0.0029 μl O2 μg−1 h−1 for populations of a mean individual mass of 8–26 μg), we were unable to demonstrate a coherent common pattern between this and genetic variation. However, spatial structure in metabolic rate variation was strongly related to the extent of variability in microclimate among sites, and also showed some indication of a phylogeographic signal. Thus, over the relatively short timescale of Marion Island’s history (<1 million years), the periodic geographic barriers that have driven population differentiation from a molecular perspective may also have resulted in some physiological differentiation of populations.


Antarctica Metabolic rate Genetics Microclimate Springtail Variability 



We thank T. Hawes and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We thank members of the Centre for Invasion Biology, University of Stellenbosch, and colleagues on Marion Island, particularly Valdon Smith, Charlene Scheepers and Elrike Marais. AM was supported by a New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission Top Achievers Doctoral Scholarship. This paper forms a contribution to the SCAR EBA research programme.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela McGaughran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Convey
    • 2
  • Mark I. Stevens
    • 3
    • 4
  • Steven L. Chown
    • 5
  1. 1.Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and EvolutionMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK
  3. 3.South Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Botany and Zoology, Centre for Invasion BiologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

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