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Deep drilling reveals massive shifts in evolutionary dynamics after formation of ancient ecosystem

Wilke, Thomas; Hauffe, Torsten; Jovanovska, Elena; Cvetkoska, Aleksandra; Donders, Timme; Ekschmitt, Klemens; Francke, Alexander; Lacey, Jack H.; Levkov, Zlatko; Marshall, Charles R.; Neubauer, Thomas A.; Silvestro, Daniele; Stelbrink, Björn; Vogel, Hendrik; Albrecht, Christian; Holtvoeth, Jens; Krastel, Sebastian; Leicher, Niklas; Leng, Melanie J.; Lindhorst, Katja; Masi, Alessia; Ognjanova-Rumenova, Nadja; Panagiotopoulos, Konstantinos; Reed, Jane M.; Sadori, Laura; Tofilovska, Slavica; Van Bocxlaer, Bert; Wagner-Cremer, Friederike; Wesselingh, Frank P.; Wolters, Volkmar; Zanchetta, Giovanni; Zhang, Xiaosen; Wagner, Bernd


Thomas Wilke

Torsten Hauffe

Elena Jovanovska

Aleksandra Cvetkoska

Timme Donders

Klemens Ekschmitt

Alexander Francke

Jack H. Lacey

Zlatko Levkov

Charles R. Marshall

Thomas A. Neubauer

Daniele Silvestro

Björn Stelbrink

Hendrik Vogel

Christian Albrecht

Jens Holtvoeth

Sebastian Krastel

Niklas Leicher

Melanie J. Leng

Katja Lindhorst

Alessia Masi

Nadja Ognjanova-Rumenova

Konstantinos Panagiotopoulos

Jane M. Reed

Laura Sadori

Slavica Tofilovska

Bert Van Bocxlaer

Friederike Wagner-Cremer

Frank P. Wesselingh

Volkmar Wolters

Giovanni Zanchetta

Xiaosen Zhang

Bernd Wagner


The scarcity of high-resolution empirical data directly tracking diversity over time limits our understanding of speciation and extinction dynamics and the drivers of rate changes. Here, we analyze a continuous species-level fossil record of endemic diatoms from ancient Lake Ohrid, along with environmental and climate indicator time series since lake formation 1.36 million years (Ma) ago. We show that speciation and extinction rates nearly simultaneously decreased in the environmentally dynamic phase after ecosystem formation and stabilized after deep-water conditions established in Lake Ohrid. As the lake deepens, we also see a switch in the macroevolutionary trade-off, resulting in a transition from a volatile assemblage of short-lived endemic species to a stable community of long-lived species. Our results emphasize the importance of the interplay between environmental/climate change, ecosystem stability, and environmental limits to diversity for diversification processes. The study also provides a new understanding of evolutionary dynamics in long-lived ecosystems.


Wilke, T., Hauffe, T., Jovanovska, E., Cvetkoska, A., Donders, T., Ekschmitt, K., …Wagner, B. (2020). Deep drilling reveals massive shifts in evolutionary dynamics after formation of ancient ecosystem. Science Advances, 6(40), eabb2943.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2020
Publication Date 2020-09
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 8, 2021
Journal Science Advances
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 40
Pages eabb2943
Public URL
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Published article (804 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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