Year of publication
- Phenotypic evolution and hidden speciation in Candidula unifasciata ssp. (Helicellinae, Gastropoda) inferred by 16S variation and quantitative shell traits (2001)
- In an effort to link quantitative morphometric information with molecular data on the population level, we have analysed 19 populations of the conchologically variable land snail Candidula unifasciata from across the species range for variation in quantitative shell traits and at the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal (r)DNA locus. In genetic analysis, including 21 additional populations, we observed two fundamental haplotype clades with an average pairwise sequence divergence of 0.209 ± 0.009 between clades compared to 0.017 ± 0.012 within clades, suggesting the presence of two different evolutionary lineages. Integrating additional shell material from the Senckenberg Malacological Collection, a highly significant discriminant analysis on the morphological shell traits with fundamental haplotype clades as grouping variable suggested that the less frequent haplotype corresponds to the described subspecies C. u. rugosiuscula, which we propose to regard as a distinct species. Both taxa were highly subdivided genetically (FST = 0.648 and 0.777 P < 0.001). This was contrasted by the partition of morphological variance, where only 29.6% and 21.9% of the variance were distributed among populations, respectively. In C. unifasciata, no significant association between population pairwise FST estimates and corresponding morphological fixation indices could be detected, indicating independent evolution of the two character sets. Partial least square analysis of environmental factors against shell trait variables in C. u. unifasciata revealed significant correlations between environmental factors and certain quantitative shell traits, whose potential adaptational values are discussed.
- Isolation by distance in a population of a small land snail Trochoidea geyeri: evidence from direct and indirect methods (1996)
- Population structure was estimated in a continuous population of a small land snail (Trochoidea geyeri). Mark-recapture experiments and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analyses indicate that the population structure can be described by the isolation by distance model of Wright (1946). Estimates of density and dispersal suggest a neighbourhood size of 70-208 individuals on an area of 13-21 m 2 . A principal component analysis of the randomly amplified polymorphic DNA data reveals clinal variation of genetic composition across the population, as predicted by the neighbourhood concept. An analysis of molecular variance indicates substantial genetic structuring. Comparisons of the genetic distances, expressed as euclidean distances among individuals, versus the geographic distance between sampling sites yield a highly significant positive correlation (Mantel test: r = 0.567, p<0.0001). The revealed pattern of populational subdivision on a microgeographic scale seems to be one of the principal processes generating and maintaining genetic diversity within populations of small land gastropods.
- Relationship between microspatial population genetic structure and habitat heterogeneity in Pomatias elegans (O.F. Müller 1774) (Caenogastropoda, Pomatiasidae) (2002)
- In the present study the population genetic structure of the terrestrial snail Pomatias elegans was related to habitat structure on a microspatial scale. The genetic variability of 1607 individuals from 51 sampling sites in five different populations in Provence, France, was studied with an allozyme marker using population genetic methods, Mantel tests and spatial autocorrelation techniques were applied to different connectivity networks accounting for the structural features of the landscape. It is suggested that the population structure is, to a large extent, a function of the habitat quality, quantified as population density, and of the spatial arrangement of the habitat in the landscape and not of the geographical distance per se. In fragmented habitats, random genetic drift was the prevailing force for sampling sites separated by a few hundred meters.
- Dynamic microsatellites in transcribed regions of gastropod mitochondrial 16S rDNA (2001)
- Length variations of repetitive sequences in different AT-rich loop-coding regions of mitochondrial 16S rDNA in two gastropod species were discovered during intraspecific haplotype surveys. Examination of the discrete length variation of the basic repeat unit in a phylogenetic framework led to the conclusion of a microsatellite-like mutational dynamic. The observations suggest that the presence of a repetitive sequence structure alone is sufficient to trigger this dynamic.
- Comparative analysis of range sizes in Helicidae s.l. (Pulmonata, Gastropoda) (2004)
- I analysed the importance of shell size, shell shape, habitat preferences and availability, experienced climate, active dispersal and influence of Pleistocene glaciations for the range sizes of 37 Western Palaearctic Helicidae s.l. species for which a phylogeny was available. In both cross-species and phylogenetically controlled analyses, the range sizes were positively correlated to climatic tolerance, shell size, active dispersal and influence of Pleistocene glaciations. In addition, range sizes increased significantly with latitude. Multiple regression suggested that, predominantly, the influence of Pleistocene glaciations, tolerance to large annual temperature ranges and shell size influenced the distributional range sizes. Habitat preference, range and availability, active dispersal and shell shape explained no additional variance. The results suggest that the processes influencing species range size of the Helicidae s.l. are mainly related to the climatic shifts after the Pleistocene.
- Why do snails have hairs? A Bayesian inference of character evolution (2005)
- Background: Costly structures need to represent an adaptive advantage in order to be maintained over evolutionary times. Contrary to many other conspicuous shell ornamentations of gastropods, the haired shells of several Stylommatophoran land snails still lack a convincing adaptive explanation. In the present study, we analysed the correlation between the presence/absence of hairs and habitat conditions in the genus Trochulus in a Bayesian framework of character evolution. Results: Haired shells appeared to be the ancestral character state, a feature most probably lost three times independently. These losses were correlated with a shift from humid to dry habitats, indicating an adaptive function of hairs in moist environments. It had been previously hypothesised that these costly protein structures of the outer shell layer facilitate the locomotion in moist habitats. Our experiments, on the contrary, showed an increased adherence of haired shells to wet surfaces. Conclusion: We propose the hypothesis that the possession of hairs facilitates the adherence of the snails to their herbaceous food plants during foraging when humidity levels are high. The absence of hairs in some Trochulus species could thus be explained as a loss of the potential adaptive function linked to habitat shifts.
- Evidence for survival of Pleistocene climatic changes in Northern refugia by the land snail Trochoidea geyeri (Soós 1926) (Helicellinae, Stylommatophora) (2003)
- The study of organisms with restricted dispersal abilities and presence in the fossil record is particularly adequate to understand the impact of climate changes on the distribution and genetic structure of species. Trochoidea geyeri (Soós 1926) is a land snail restricted to a patchy, insular distribution in Germany and France. Fossil evidence suggests that current populations of T. geyeri are relicts of a much more widespread distribution during more favourable climatic periods in the Pleistocene. Results: Phylogeographic analysis of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA and nuclear ITS-1 sequence variation was used to infer the history of the remnant populations of T. geyeri. Nested clade analysis for both loci suggested that the origin of the species is in the Provence from where it expanded its range first to Southwest France and subsequently from there to Germany. Estimated divergence times predating the last glacial maximum between 25–17 ka implied that the colonization of the northern part of the current species range occurred during the Pleistocene. Conclusion: We conclude that T. geyeri could quite successfully persist in cryptic refugia during major climatic changes in the past, despite of a restricted capacity of individuals to actively avoid unfavourable conditions.
- A species delimitation approach in the Trochulus sericeus/hispidus complex reveals two cryptic species with a sharp contact zone (2009)
- Background Mitochondrial DNA sequencing increasingly results in the recognition of genetically divergent, but morphologically cryptic lineages. Species delimitation approaches that rely on multiple lines of evidence in areas of co-occurrence are particularly powerful to infer their specific status. We investigated the species boundaries of two cryptic lineages of the land snail genus Trochulus in a contact zone, using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA marker as well as shell morphometrics. Results Both mitochondrial lineages have a distinct geographical distribution with a small zone of co-occurrence. In the same area, we detected two nuclear genotype clusters, each being highly significantly associated to one mitochondrial lineage. This association however had exceptions: a small number of individuals in the contact zone showed intermediate genotypes (4%) or cytonuclear disequilibrium (12%). Both mitochondrial lineage and nuclear cluster were statistically significant predictors for the shell shape indicating morphological divergence. Nevertheless, the lineage morphospaces largely overlapped (low posterior classification success rate of 69% and 78%, respectively): the two lineages are truly cryptic. Conclusions The integrative approach using multiple lines of evidence supported the hypothesis that the investigated Trochulus lineages are reproductively isolated species. In the small contact area, however, the lineages hybridise to a limited extent. This detection of a hybrid zone adds an instance to the rare reported cases of hybridisation in land snails.
- Short read Illumina data for the de novo assembly of a non-model snail species transcriptome (Radix balthica, Basommatophora, Pulmonata), and a comparison of assembler performance (2011)
- Background: Until recently, read lengths on the Solexa/Illumina system were too short to reliably assemble transcriptomes without a reference sequence, especially for non-model organisms. However, with read lengths up to 100 nucleotides available in the current version, an assembly without reference genome should be possible. For this study we created an EST data set for the common pond snail Radix balthica by Illumina sequencing of a normalized transcriptome. Performance of three different short read assemblers was compared with respect to: the number of contigs, their length, depth of coverage, their quality in various BLAST searches and the alignment to mitochondrial genes. Results: A single sequencing run of a normalized RNA pool resulted in 16,923,850 paired end reads with median read length of 61 bases. The assemblies generated by VELVET, OASES, and SeqMan NGEN differed in the total number of contigs, contig length, the number and quality of gene hits obtained by BLAST searches against various databases, and contig performance in the mt genome comparison. While VELVET produced the highest overall number of contigs, a large fraction of these were of small size (< 200bp), and gave redundant hits in BLAST searches and the mt genome alignment. The best overall contig performance resulted from the NGEN assembly. It produced the second largest number of contigs, which on average were comparable to the OASES contigs but gave the highest number of gene hits in two out of four BLAST searches against different reference databases. A subsequent meta-assembly of the four contig sets resulted in larger contigs, less redundancy and a higher number of BLAST hits. Conclusion: Our results document the first de novo transcriptome assembly of a non-model species using Illumina sequencing data. We show that de novo transcriptome assembly using this approach yields results useful for downstream applications, in particular if a meta-assembly of contig sets is used to increase contig quality. These results highlight the ongoing need for improvements in assembly methodology. Keywords: next generation sequencing; short read assembly; Mollusca