Research Article

Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 503-515

Modelling range shifts and assessing genetic diversity distribution of the montane aquatic mayfly Ameletus inopinatus in Europe under climate change scenarios

  • Julia TaubmannAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg UniversityDepartment of Limnology and Conservation, Senckenberg
  • , Kathrin TheissingerAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg UniversityDepartment of Limnology and Conservation, Senckenberg Email author 
  • , Kevin A. FeldheimAffiliated withPritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution, The Field Museum
  • , Irina LaubeAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg UniversityBiodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)
  • , Wolfram GrafAffiliated withInstitute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management
  • , Peter HaaseAffiliated withDepartment of Limnology and Conservation, Senckenberg
  • , Jes JohannesenAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg University
  • , Steffen U. PaulsAffiliated withBiodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota Email author 

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Abstract

Genetic diversity is one of the most important criteria to identify unique populations for conservation purposes. In this study we analyze the genetic population structure of the endangered montane mayfly Ameletus inopinatus in its European range. The species is restricted to unpolluted cold-water streams, and exhibits an insular distribution across highlands of Central Europe and a more continuous distribution across Fennoscandia and Northern Euro-Siberia. We genotyped 389 individuals from 31 populations for eight highly polymorphic microsatellite loci to investigate genetic diversity and population structure within and among European mountain ranges. Genetic diversity of A. inopinatus decreases along an east–west gradient in Central Europe and along a north–south gradient in Fennoscandia, respectively. Centres of exceptionally high genetic diversity are located in the Eastern Alps (Andertal Moor, Austria), the High Tatra, the Beskides, the Sudety Mountains and the Eastern German Highlands. Species distribution modelling for 2080 projects major regional habitat loss, particularly in Central Europe mountain ranges. By relating these range shifts to our population genetic results, we identify conservation units primarily in Eastern Europe, that if preserved would maintain high levels of the present-day genetic diversity and continue to provide long-term suitable habitat under future climate warming scenarios.

Keywords

Microsatellites Population genetics Species distribution modelling Conservation Aquatic insects Wahlund effect