A comparative analysis of population structuring and genetic diversity in sympatric lineages of freshwater shrimp (Atyidae: Paratya): concerted or independent responses to hydrographic factors?
1. We determined whether two sympatric mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages of freshwater shrimp (Decapoda: Atyidae: Paratya australiensis) represent biological species and if they had concerted or independent population responses to hydrographic factors in small streams (the Granite Creeks) in southeastern Australia. 2. Allozyme data indicated the presence of two gene pools at sites where the P. australiensis lineages were co-occurring and the gene pools were statistically assigned with high probability to each respective lineage. This indicated that these mtDNA lineages in P. australiensis were reproductively isolated and thus biological species. 3. Populations of both lineages were genetically homogeneous among lowland sites within streams, but were isolated by steep stream gradients among upland sites and for lowland-upland site comparisons. However, the magnitude of differentiation was markedly different between the two lineages. Allozyme diversity also differed between the two lineages, suggesting that they have different effective population sizes. Thus, differences in the magnitude of genetic divergence among populations were probably because of different life-history characteristics, including dispersal ability and population size. 4. Genetic population structure was mostly temporally stable, despite the extreme effects of drought during the first year and substantial stream-flow during the second. However, stable isotope analyses revealed greater local movement in both lineages during the second year, as greater hydrological connectivity provided more opportunities for dispersal. Thus, although lowland populations within streams were genetically homogeneous, stable isotope data indicated that connections may be sporadic and result from accumulated small-scale movements among refugial pools. 5. Both lineages were therefore found to have similar small-scale population responses to the unstable habitats of the Granite Creeks. Results highlight the importance of refugia for the capacity of biota to recover from drought and the need for multiple restored patches to reinstate natural population processes (e.g. resilience, recolonization) in degraded systems.