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The Ancient Britons: Groundwater fauna survived extreme climate changes over tens of millions of years across NW Europe

McInerney, Caitriona, Maurice, Louise, Robertson, Anne L., Knight, Lee R.F.D., Arnscheidt, Joerg, Venditti, Chris, Dooley, James, Mathers, Thomas, Matthijs, Severine, Eriksson, Karin, Proudlove, Graham and Haenfling, Bernd (2014) The Ancient Britons: Groundwater fauna survived extreme climate changes over tens of millions of years across NW Europe. Molecular Ecology, 23 (5). pp. 1153-1166. [Journal article]

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URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.12664/abstract

DOI: 10.1111/mec.12664

Abstract

Global climate changes during the Cenozoic (65.5 - 0 Ma) caused major biological range shifts and extinctions. In Northern Europe, for example, a pattern of few endemics and the dominance of wide-ranging species is thought to have been determined by the Pleistocene (2.59 – 0.01 Ma) glaciations. This study, in contrast, reveals an ancient subsurface fauna endemic to Britain and Ireland. Using a Bayesian phylogenetic approach we found that two species of stygobitic invertebrates (genus Niphargus) have not only survived the entire Pleistocene in refugia but have persisted for at least 19.5 million years. Other Niphargus species form distinct cryptic taxa that diverged from their nearest continental relative between 5.6 and 1.0 Ma. The study also reveals an unusual biogeographical pattern in the Niphargus genus. It originated in Northwest Europe ~88 Ma and underwent a gradual range expansion. Phylogenetic diversity and species age are highest in Northwest Europe suggesting resilience to extreme climate change, and strongly contrasting the patterns seen in surface fauna. However, species diversity is highest in Southeast Europe indicating that once the genus spread to these areas (~ 25 Ma), geomorphological and climatic conditions enabled much higher diversification. Our study highlights that groundwater ecosystems provide an important contribution to biodiversity and offer insight into the interactions between biological and climatic processes.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:groundwater; groundwater ecology; Niphargus; Ireland; Britain; Europe; glaciation, ancestral state reconstruction; Bayesian dating analysis; cave; phylogeography; glacial; survival; subterranean; crustacean; crustacea; amphipoda; climate change
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Biomedical Sciences Research Institute > Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE)
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute
Environmental Sciences Research Institute
Environmental Sciences Research Institute > Freshwater Sciences
ID Code:28559
Deposited By: Dr Joerg Arnscheidt
Deposited On:13 Mar 2014 09:41
Last Modified:13 Mar 2014 09:41

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