Metabolic rate, genetic and microclimate variation among springtail populations from sub-Antarctic Marion Island

16 May 2011

Measurement of metabolic rates (made at 10°C) of individuals of the springtail Cryptopygus antarcticus travei from six geographically distinct populations on sub-Antarctic Marion Island were combined with mitochondrial DNA (COI) haplotype analysis to examine in parallel both physiological and genetic variation of distinct populations. We found evidence of genetic diVerentiation among populations and a general indication of long-term isolation with limited gene Xow. While we found support for an overall pattern of metabolic rate structure among populations from diVerent geographic locations on the island (mean rate = 0.0009–0.0029μl O2 μg-1 h-1 for populations of a mean individual mass of 8–26 μg), we were unable to demonstrate a coherent common pattern between this and genetic variation. However, spatial structure in metabolic rate variation was strongly related to the extent of variability in microclimate among sites, and also showed some indication of a phylogeographic signal. Thus, over the relatively short timescale of Marion Island’s history (<1 million years), the periodic geographic barriers that have driven population diVerentiation from a molecular perspective may also have resulted in some physiological diVerentiation of populations.