- The contribution of differential hatching success to the fitness of species and interspecific hybrids (2007)
- Resting egg banks of microcrustaceans have been used to reconstruct the evolutionary and ecological history of species. However, recent studies provided evidence for a discrepancy between dormant propagules in the sediment and the planktonic population. This pattern raises two questions: First, what is the value of data on resting egg banks for population dynamics over time and second, which component of the reproductive cycle causes the observed inconsistency? In our study we focussed on the second question by comparing the taxon composition of a resting egg bank with the reproductive success of ex-ephippial hatchlings. Species and interspecific hybrid identification of dormant and hatched stages was achieved through the application of restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of an internal transcribed spacer region. We found no significant deviation between the proportion of hatched Daphnia galeata, D. galeata x hyalina and D. hyalina individuals and the observed taxon composition of the resting egg bank. However, species and hybrids differed in their mode and relative success of reproduction. We conclude that the components of reproductive success in Daphnia contribute differentially to the fitness of species and interspecific hybrids. The discrepancy between resting egg banks and ‘‘active’’ planktonic populations results not from differential hatching of species but from the reproductive success of ex-ephippial females and the timing and frequency of sexual reproduction of the different taxa.
- The reconstruction of evolutionary patterns from daphnia resting egg banks (2008)
- In this study I analysed past and recent Daphnia populations from Lake Constance and Greifensee. Herefore, I first established a set of microsatellite markers applicable to European Hyalodaphnia species (chapter 1). Primers were also identified for species specific fragment lengths. 32 markers were then available to characterize the resting egg banks of Daphnia galeata and D. hyalina. Chapter 2 presents the reconstruction of the taxonomic composition in these two ecologically different lakes. This part of my work shows that the eutrophication that occurred in both lakes in the mid of the last century has strongly influenced the Daphnia populations. In both lakes Daphnia galeata established and hybridized with the indigenous D. hyalina. Interspecific hybridization resulted in introgression on the mitochondrial and nuclear level. In chapter 3 resting eggs from the sediments of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were characterized with microsatellite markers. The aim was to specify the extent of interspecific hybridization and nuclear introgression assuming that the genetic exchange between both species has an impact on their adaptation to their habitat. In life history experiments D. galeata and D. galeata x hyalina clones hatched from different time periods showed significant differential responses to food quality. Therefore, the question had to be answered how the Daphnia resting egg bank and the planktonic population are connected. In chapter 4 hatching experiments were conducted to bridge this gap of scientific knowledge in the life cycle of cyclic parthenogenetic waterfleas. Only D. galeata individuals were able to establish a clonal lineage after maturity. All observed recombinant individuals did not reproduce at all or firstly went through another sexual phase of reproduction i.e. produced resting eggs. In order to compare the findings of chapter 4 with the taxon composition of the recent planktonic population of Daphnia in Lake Constance, samples were taken over one season (between May 2005 and September 2006). During the season, the taxonomic composition of Daphnia changes severely with D. galeata being most abundant during the warm season and D. hyalina in the cold season. Moreover, some individuals were detected, that did not follow this pattern. With mitochondrial analysis those individuals were identified as mitochondrial introgressants and processed to life history experiments. Significant differences in the somatic growth rate under different temperatures (5°C, 12.5°C and 20°C) were related to the origin of the mitochondrial genome rather than the nuclear taxonomic assignment of the individual. The findings of this study show that all organisms exposed to rapid ecological changes and their microevolutionary reaction to those.
- Introduction: extent, processes and evolutionary impact of interspecific hybridization in animals (2008)
- Since the time of Charles Darwin, studies of interspecific hybridization have been a major focus for evolutionary biologists. Although this phenomenon has often been viewed as problematic in the fields of ecology, taxonomy and systematics, it has become a primary source of data for studies on speciation and adaptation. Effects from genetic/evolutionary processes, such as recombination and natural selection, usually develop over extended periods of time; however, they are accelerated in cases of hybridization. Interspecific hybrids exhibit novel genomes that are exposed to natural selection, thus providing a key to unravel the ultimate causes of adaptation and speciation. Here we provide firstly a historic perspective of hybridization research, secondly a novel attempt to assess the extent of hybridization among animals and thirdly an overview of the reviews and case studies presented in this theme issue.