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100 years on: a re-evaluation of the first discovery of microfauna from Ross Island, Antarctica

  • Alejandro Velasco-Castrillón (a1) (a2), Ian Hawes (a3) and Mark I. Stevens (a1) (a2)
Abstract

Over a century ago microfaunal diversity was first recorded by James Murray in lakes at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica. The report stands as the seminal study for today’s biodiversity investigations, and as a baseline to evaluate changes in faunal communities and introductions. In the present study, Cape Royds lakes were revisited and the mitochondrial c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and morphology were used to compare diversity of Rotifera, Tardigrada and Nematoda with the records Murray published in the early 1900s. Cyanobacterial mats and the water column were sampled for microfauna from the five largest lakes using methods described by Murray. Across all five lakes similar patterns were observed for species distribution of all three phyla reported by Murray over 100 years ago. Some changes in species assemblages were identified within and between lakes, but there were no new introductions of named species for the Cape Royds region. Some of the species included by Murray in his monograph have been recently redescribed as Antarctic endemics, but others still retain their original name from the Northern Hemisphere holotypes and are also in need of revision to adequately determine the true endemism for these faunal groups.

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Antarctic Science
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