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Trapped in desert springs: phylogeography of Australian desert spring snails
Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide.
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699, Vol. 39, no 9, 1573-1582 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


We investigate the phylogeographical history and determine the time-scaleof population divergence of hydrobiid freshwater snails (genus Trochidrobia)inhabiting groundwater springs in the Australian desert. We test the hypothesisthat divergence between geographically distinct snail populations occurredsimultaneously due to their isolation in hydrologically discrete spring systems, i.e.‘trapped in desert springs’.


Groundwater springs of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) in centralAustralia.


DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidasesubunit I gene and the nuclear 28S and internal transcribed spacer rRNA geneswere used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships within and among threespecies of Trochidrobia (Hydrobiidae): T. punicea (13 spring groups, n = 90),T. smithi (12 spring groups, n = 62) and T. minuta (2 spring groups, n = 4). Bayesian relaxed molecular clock analyses and approximate Bayesian computation were used to date lineage divergence and distinguish betweenalternative biogeographical scenarios.


The diversification of the three Trochidrobia species probably occurredbetween 2.54 and 9.3 Ma, prior to the formation of the springs c. 1 Ma.Intraspecific divergences within the two widespread species occurred after theformation and colonization of the springs. Coalescent modelling and molecularclock analyses supported a simultaneous radiation of five allopatric intraspecificsnail lineages within T. punicea (two lineages) and T. smithi (three lineages)across the GAB springs examined.

Main conclusions

The analyses support the ‘trapped in desert springs’hypothesis for the diversification of intraspecific lineages within the species T.punicea and T. smithi. This hypothesis suggests that the formation of desertsaround Lake Eyre in the early Pleistocene led to the hydrological isolation ofspring complexes in the GAB, resulting in significant molecular divergence, butno morphological divergence, of Trochidrobia snail populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 39, no 9, 1573-1582 p.
Keyword [en]
Australia, aquatic invertebrates, comparative phylogeography, desert springs, freshwater snails, Great Artesian Basin, groundwater, landscape structure, Trochidrobia, Quaternary climate
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Genetics Zoology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181277DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2012.02725.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-181277DiVA: diva2:555599
Available from: 2012-09-25 Created: 2012-09-20 Last updated: 2012-09-25Bibliographically approved

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