BMC Evol Biol 2017 12 7;17(1):247. Epub 2017 Dec 7.
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University - Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 St., North Miami, FL, 33181, USA.
Background: The underlying mechanisms and processes that prompt the colonisation of extreme environments, such as caves, constitute major research themes of evolutionary biology and biospeleology. The special adaptations required to survive in subterranean environments (low food availability, hypoxic waters, permanent darkness), and the geographical isolation of caves, nominate cave biodiversity as ideal subjects to answer long-standing questions concerning the interplay amongst adaptation, biogeography, and evolution. The present project aims to examine the phylogeographic patterns exhibited by two sympatric species of surface and cave-dwelling peracarid crustaceans (Asellus aquaticus and Niphargus hrabei), and in doing so elucidate the possible roles of isolation and exaptation in the colonisation and successful adaptation to the cave environment. Read More