Significance of climate and hydrochemistry on shape variation – a case study on Neotropical cytheroidean Ostracoda
- 1Institute of Earth Sciences, NAWI Graz Geocenter, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
- 2Institute for Geophysics and Geology, University of Leipzig, 04109 Leipzig, Germany
- 3Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University, 35392 Giessen, Germany
- 4Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, 2300 RA, the Netherlands
- 5Coordenação de Ciências da Terra e Ecologia, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, 66077-830, Brazil
Abstract. How environmental change affects a species' phenotype is crucial not only for taxonomy and biodiversity assessments but also for its application as a palaeo-ecological and ecological indicator. Previous investigations addressing the impact of the climate and hydrochemical regime on ostracod valve morphology have yielded contrasting results. Frequently identified ecological factors influencing carapace shape are salinity, cation, sulfate concentrations, and alkalinity. Here, we present a thorough approach integrating data with the carapace outline and surface details of the ubiquitous Neotropical cytheroidean ostracod species Cytheridella ilosvayi, as well as several climatic and hydrochemical variables, in order to investigate a potential link between morphology and environmental conditions. A recent study previously demonstrated considerable biogeographical variation in valve morphology among Floridian, Mexican and Brazilian populations of this species. We hypothesize that the climatic differences between the regions it inhabits and associated differences in hydrochemical regimes have influenced valve morphology and eventually led to biogeographically distinctive groups. Generalized least-squares Procrustes analyses based on outline and structural features were applied to the left and right valves of adult females and males. The analyses identified relative carapace length and shape symmetry as most important morphological characteristics representing shape differences across all datasets. Two-block partial least-squares analyses and multiple regressions indicate strong relationships between morphological and environmental variables, specifically with temperature seasonality, annual precipitation and chloride and sulfate concentrations. We suggest that increased temperature seasonality slowed down growth rates during colder months, potentially triggering the development of shortened valves with well-developed brood pouches. Differences in chloride and sulfate concentrations, related to fluctuations in precipitation, are considered to affect valve development via controlling osmoregulation and carapace calcification. The factors identified by our analyses represent hitherto unknown drivers for ostracod ecophenotypy in other species and therefore suggest that environmental predictors for morphological variability are not consistent across non-marine ostracods.