AME 78:25-37 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01798

Molecular investigation of protistan diversity along an elevation transect of alpine lakes

Lars Grossmann1,*, Manfred Jensen1, Ram Vinay Pandey2, Steffen Jost1, David Bass3,4, Roland Psenner5, Jens Boenigk1

1Biodiversity Department and Centre for Water and Environmental Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, 45141 Essen, Germany
2Institute of Population Genetics, Veterinaerplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
3Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
4Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK
5Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ecological gradients are one of the main reasons for changes in biodiversity. However, whether what is known to be true for plants and animals also applies to protists in the same way is largely unknown. Along an alpine elevation gradient, including 29 freshwater lakes, we investigated ecological drivers of protistan diversity and community structure, as well as the explanatory value of the species-area relationship for protistan diversity using a deep-sequencing approach. We found that species richness does not decrease with elevation, nor is elevation a major factor explaining the observed shifts in community composition. The observed protistan communities differ depending on many factors, with pH and nutrient concentrations being most important. Considering distinct subgroups, Chrysophyceae accurately reflect the pattern of the overall protistan community. Within the investigated elevation gradient, species richness was correlated with the area of individual lakes irrespective of their elevation. However, we found no support for decreasing species richness with elevation, as known for plants and animals.


KEY WORDS: Eukaryotic microbial diversity · High throughput sequencing · Algae · Protozoa · Chrysophytes · Evenness · Dinophyta


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Cite this article as: Grossmann L, Jensen M, Pandey RV, Jost S, Bass D, Psenner R, Boenigk J (2016) Molecular investigation of protistan diversity along an elevation transect of alpine lakes. Aquat Microb Ecol 78:25-37. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01798

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