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What's on your boots: an investigation into the role we play in protist dispersal
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699, Vol. 39, no 5, 998-1003 p.Article in journal, Letter (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

D. M. Wilkinson (2010, Journal of Biogeography, 37, 393–397) suggested that anthropogenic dispersal is an understudied and potentially important factor in terrestrial protist biogeography. We investigated human footwear as a potential vector of dictyostelids, a diverse group of amoebae that includes both geographically restricted and cosmopolitan species. Eighteen pairs of boots were examined and dictyostelids were isolated from nearly all samples larger than 5.0 g. In total, six dictyostelid isolates were recovered, corresponding to four species –Dictyostelium minutum, D. sphaerocephalum, D. leptosomopsis and a new species, Polysphondylium sp. 1. Myxogastrid amoebae and acrasid-like aggregations were also observed. Thus anthropogenic dispersal of naked amoebae appears to occur. The possible role of variations in dictyostelid fruiting body morphologies in dispersal potential is also discussed. These results support Wilkinson’s proposal and suggest that dictyostelids may be a useful group with which to study anthropogenic dispersal of terrestrial protists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 39, no 5, 998-1003 p.
Keyword [en]
Anthropogenic biogeography, Dictyostelium, dispersal vectors, global dispersal, protist distribution, social amoebae, terrestrial microorganisms
National Category
Other Biological Topics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169502DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2012.02691.xISI: 000302910600016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-169502DiVA: diva2:507005
Available from: 2012-03-01 Created: 2012-03-01 Last updated: 2014-01-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Diversity Underfoot: Systematics and Biogeography of the Dictyostelid Social Amoebae
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diversity Underfoot: Systematics and Biogeography of the Dictyostelid Social Amoebae
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Dictyostelids (Amoebozoa) are a group of social amoebae consisting of approximately 150 species, which are found in terrestrial habitats worldwide. They are divided into eight major clades based on molecular phylogeny, and within these clades are many species complexes. Some species are seemingly cosmopolitan in distribution, while others are geographically restricted. In this thesis dictyostelids were recovered from high latitude habitats (soils in Sweden and Iceland) as well as from the soles of shoes. Morphological characters and DNA sequence analyses were used to identify isolates that were recovered and delimit new species, as well as to investigate the monophyly of Dictyostelium aureostipes. Nine species were reported from Northern Sweden and four from Iceland. Among the isolates recorded in Sweden were two new species, described as D. barbibulus and Polysphondylium fuscans. P. fuscans was among the four species recovered from footwear, contributing evidence for anthropogenic transport of dictyostelids. Ecological patterns were assessed using linear regression and generalized linear models. The ecological analyses of dictyostelids recovered from Iceland indicate that these organisms are most frequently found in soils of near-neutral pH, but also exhibit a species richness peak in moderately acidic soils. These analyses indicate that in Iceland dictyostelid species richness decreases with altitude, and in the northern hemisphere the species richness increases with decreasing latitude. A three-region analysis of the D. aureostipes species complex indicated that this species is in fact made up of at least five phylogenetically distinct clades, and in light of this the group is in need of taxonomic revision. These results indicate that the dictyostelid species richness is higher than previously known, especially in high-latitude regions, and that even seemingly well-defined species may harbour cryptic diversity. Presently, species ranges may be expanding via anthropogenic dispersal but despite this, the dictyostelids are found to exhibit biogeographic trends well known from macroorganisms, such as a latitudinal gradient of species richness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 56 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1097
Amoeba, biogeography, cryptic species, dictyostelid, latitudinal gradient, multicellularity, protist, social amoeba, phylogenetics, systematics, new species
National Category
Biological Systematics Microbiology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Systematics
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-210074 (URN)978-91-554-8804-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Lindahlsalen, Norbyvägen 18D, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-10-30 Last updated: 2014-06-16

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