At the edge and on the top: molecular identification and ecology of Daphnia dentifera and D. longispina in high-altitude Asian lakes
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The occurrence of members of the highly diverse Daphnia longispina complex in Southern and Central Asian high-mountain lakes has been recognized for more than a century. Until now, however, no molecular data have been available for these populations inhabiting the “Roof of the World.” Here, we present the first identification for D. gr. longispina from that region based on a molecular phylogeny. Our findings show that alpine lakes in the Pamir and Himalaya mountains host populations of widespread species of the complex, for which these are the highest known localities. A spineless morph from the Himalaya region, previously labeled as D. longispina var. aspina, was clustering tightly with D. dentifera, while a population from the Pamir mountain range was grouped with D. longispina. In addition, we analyzed ecological data available for lakes in the Khumbu region (Himalaya) to investigate ecological preferences of non-pigmented D. gr. longispina. The identified factors can at least partly be related to avoidance of high UV conditions by this species. We conclude that the widespread species D. dentifera and D. longispina also colonized the Asian high-mountain lakes, and identify the need for further research to trace the possible effect of rapid environmental changes in this region on the diversity and ecology of high-altitude Daphnia populations.
KeywordsDaphnia longispina complex Alpine lakes Molecular systematics UV radiation 12S
We thank Nicola Rhyner for technical assistance in the lab. We are grateful to Seiji Ishida for providing ND2 sequences, Christoph Tellenbach for statistical advice, Patrick Turko for proofreading, and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. MM and PS were supported by the Swiss Science Foundation (CR3213_125211), AP and PJJ by the Czech Science Foundation (Project No. P506/10/P167) and the Grant Agency of the Charles University (1325/2010). The logistics for the field work at the Pyramid Research Laboratory was supported by a project granted to RS by the Committee on High Altitude Scientific and Technological Research (Ev-K²-CNR) in collaboration with the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, and thanks to contributions from the Italian National Research Council and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Phylogenetic analyses were performed with the help of the Genetic Diversity Centre of ETH Zurich.
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