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Data from: Diatoms do radiate: evidence for a freshwater species flock

Cite this dataset

Stelbrink, Björn et al. (2018). Data from: Diatoms do radiate: evidence for a freshwater species flock [Dataset]. Dryad.


Due to the ubiquity and high dispersal capacity of unicellular eukaryotes, their often extraordinary diversity found in isolated and long-lived ecosystems such as ancient lakes is typically attributed to multiple colonization events rather than to in situ speciation. However, respective evolutionary studies are very scarce and the often high number of species flocks in ancient lakes across multicellular taxa raises the question whether unicellular species, such as diatoms, may radiate as well. Here, we use an integrative approach that includes molecular data from benthic diatom species of the genus Aneumastus endemic to ancient Lake Ohrid, fossil data obtained from the sediment record of a recent deep-drilling project and biogeographical information to test if this group, indeed, constitutes a species flock. Molecular-clock and phylogenetic analyses indicate a young monophyletic group of several endemic species. Molecular, fossil and biogeographical data strongly suggest a rapid intra-lacustrine diversification, which was possibly triggered by the emergence of novel habitats. This finding is the first evidence for a species flock in diatoms and suggests that in situ speciation is also a relevant evolutionary process for unicellular eukaryotes in isolated ecosystems.

Usage notes


Lake Ohrid