Paleogenetic records of Daphnia pulicaria in two North American lakes reveal the impact of cultural eutrophication

Dagmar Frisch, Philip K. Morton, Billy W. Culver, Mark B. Edlund, Punidan D. Jeyasingh, Lawrence J. Weider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Understanding the evolutionary consequences of the green revolution, particularly in wild populations, is an important frontier in contemporary biology. Because human impacts have occurred at varying magnitudes or time periods depending on the study ecosystem, evolutionary histories may vary considerably among populations. Paleogenetics in conjunction with paleolimnology enable us to associate microevolutionary dynamics with detailed information on environmental change. We used this approach to reconstruct changes in the temporal population genetic structure of the keystone zooplankton grazer, Daphnia pulicaria, using dormant eggs extracted from sediments in two Minnesota lakes (South Center, Hill). The extent of agriculture and human population density in the catchment of these lakes has differed markedly since European settlement in the late 19th century and is reflected in their environmental histories reconstructed here. The reconstructed environments of these two lakes differed strongly in terms of environmental stability and their associated patterns of Daphnia population structure. We detected long periods of stability in population structure and environmental conditions in South Center Lake that were followed by a dramatic temporal shift in population genetic structure after the onset of European settlement and industrialized agriculture in its watershed. In particular, we noted a 24.3-fold increase in phosphorus (P) flux between pre-European and modern sediment P accumulation rates (AR) in this lake. In contrast, no such shifts were detected in Hill Lake, where the watershed was not as impacted by European settlement and rates of change were less directional with a much smaller increase in sediment P AR (2.3-fold). We identify direct and indirect effects of eutrophication proxies on genetic structure in these lake populations and demonstrate the power of using this approach in understanding the consequences of anthropogenic environmental change on natural populations throughout historic time periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-718
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal change biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by NSF-IOS-OEI collaborative grants #0924289 and #1256881 to LJW and #0924401 and #1256867 to PDJ and #1256781 to MBE. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support from the European Union (ADAPT-ENVGENOME Project Code: 271485) to J. Mu?oz, A. J. Green and LJW) that helped cover sediment dating charges (Hill Lake). We thank the staff at LacCore (National Lacustrine Core Facility), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in particular R. O'Grady, for assisting with logistics during the field sampling. D.R. Engstrom oversaw 210Pb dating of sediment cores at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. We thank P. Roy Chowdhury for sediment P analysis and R. Hartnett, J. Medders, J. Mu?oz, A. Mutz, W. Speer, and A. Harris for laboratory assistance. We thank the editors and three anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Daphnia
  • egg banks
  • environmental change
  • nutrient enrichment
  • paleolimnology

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • DAPH


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