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High zooplankton diversity in the extreme environments of the McMurdo Dry Valley lakes, Antarctica

  • Lars-Anders Hansson
  • Samuel Hylander
  • Herbert J. G. Dartnall
  • Sven Lidstrom
  • Jan-Erik Svensson
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 131-138
Publication/Series: Antarctic Science
Volume: 24
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The McMurdo Dry Valley lakes of Antarctica constitute some of the harshest and most isolated freshwater environments on Earth which might be expected to limit the biogeographical expansion of many organisms. Despite this, we found that the biodiversity of rotifer zooplankton is the highest ever recorded on the Antarctic mainland. We identified in total nine rotifer taxa, of which six are new to the Antarctic continent, in Lake Hoare, and also the first sub- adult crustacean copepod belonging to the genus Boeckella. A possible explanation for the high biodiversity is that many of the recorded species have arrived in the region in relatively recent times and then established invasive populations, suggesting that their distribution pattern was previously limited only by biogeographical borders. Interestingly, we show that the cosmopolitan rotifer taxa identified are relatively abundant, suggesting that they have established viable populations. Hence, our study suggests that the biogeographical maps have to be redrawn for several species.


  • Ecology
  • species-richness
  • invasion
  • rotifer
  • copepod
  • Boeckella
  • biodiversity


  • Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • ISSN: 1365-2079
Lars-Anders Hansson
E-mail: lars-anders [dot] hansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 41 69






Research group

Aquatic Ecology

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Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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