Population genetics and intraspecific diversity of aquatic protists across habitats and eukaryotic clades (PRODIVERSA)


Pelagic microalgae (or phytoplankton) are primary producers and form the base of the aquatic food web. Consequently they have a major impact on the food web, energy flow and biogeochemical cycles. Some microalgae can also form harmful blooms which can lead to substantial economic losses and health issues by causing toxicity of mussels, fish kills, odors, unattractive water color, or by making freshwater unsuitable as drinking supply. Populations of harmful algae are genetically highly structured and may show remarkable differentiation among and within local populations. Diversity patterns may indicate colonization and invasion patterns, reveal mechanisms of adaptation and speciation and provide insights into the evolutionary history of phytoplankton species in relation to environmental change. 

The aim of the proposed Nordic network is to foster collaboration in the ongoing studies on patterns, mechanisms the ecological consequences of intra-specific diversity of aquatic photosynthetic protists. We will compare phytoplankton species and populations from different taxonomic groups and habitats spanning from freshwater lakes to the brackish Baltic Sea and North Atlantic waters. This will advance the general understanding of population genetic, ecological and evolutionary principles in aquatic protists which are still poorly known compared to other organism groups. During the 3 years of the network we will share materials, methods and instrument facilities, perform joint surveys and experiments, exchange knowledge and expertise, integrate information and offer joint training possibilities for PhD students and post-docs (workshops and lab visits). This will support the development of research on the subject of protist diversity in the Nordic countries considerably and facilitate solid future cooperation.

More information

Dr. Anke Kremp, senior researcher, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.surname@ymparisto.fi, phone: +358 40 182 3245

Published 2013-04-24 at 9:59, updated 2013-04-24 at 9:58