Mirroring the effect of geological evolution: Protist speciation in the Atacama Desert

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Title:Main Title: Mirroring the effect of geological evolution: Protist speciation in the Atacama Desert
Description:Abstract: Unicellular eukaryotes, also called protists, are potentially fast evolving organisms. The small size of protists, their fast reproduction rate and ability to form cysts as well as their adaptability to extreme conditions allow them to associate to endemic animals, plants, saline lakes and soil even in extremely arid systems. These properties make unicellular eukaryotes ideal model organisms to combine studies on evolutionary processes of very different groups of organisms and across very different time scales comprising even geological ones. The hyperarid Atacama Desert offers a study area unique on Earth, where a predominantly arid climate was present for millions of years. A comprehensive analysis of the diversity of unicellular eukaryotes in different habitats (endemic desert plant phyllosphere, the gut of endemic darkling beetles, isolated hypersaline waters) revealed a dataset distinct and divergent from other regions on Earth. We used standard isolation and cultivation protocols to elucidate speciation patterns for a variety of very different and independent taxonomic groups of protists such as gregarines and ciliates among alveolates, placidids among stramenopiles and choanoflagellates among opisthokonts. The ability to rapidly adapt to extreme environments, which enhance a fast speciation rate at high UV radiation, has only been reported for prokaryotes up to now. The establishment of arid to hyperarid conditions in the Atacama Desert about 20 Ma ago has obviously led to an isolation of protist populations followed by a radiation of species. There are only a few regions on Earth with similar extreme salinity conditions reducing the chance of an exchange between protist populations. Speciation patterns in unicellular eukaryotes in very different phylogenetic groups independently mirror the effect of geological evolution and climate variability during the Neogene.
Responsible Party
Creators:Hartmut Arndt (Author), Benedikt Ritter (Author), Alexandra Rybarski (Author), Sabine Schiwitza (Author), Tibor Dunai (Author), Frank Nitsche (Author)
Publication Year:2019
CRC1211 Topic:Biology
Related Subproject:B3
Subject:Keyword: Evolution
Geogr. Information Topic:Biota
File Details
Data Type:Text - Article
File Size:8.3 MB
Date:Created: 31.05.2019
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Status:In Process
Download Permission:Only Own Subproject
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Submitted
Review Status:Not peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Source:Global Planetary Change
Number of Pages:30 (1 - 30)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Frank Nitsche
Metadata Created:17.06.2019
Metadata Last Updated:17.06.2019
Funding Phase:1
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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