, Volume 589, Issue 1, pp 249–263

From genetic structure to wetland conservation: a freshwater isopod Paramphisopus palustris (Phreatoicidea: Amphisopidae) from the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia

Primary Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-007-0742-2

Cite this article as:
Gouws, G. & Stewart, B.A. Hydrobiologia (2007) 589: 249. doi:10.1007/s10750-007-0742-2


The freshwater isopod Paramphisopus palustris is ubiquitous and abundant in the groundwater-fed wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain around Perth, Western Australia. Taxonomically, an additional variety (P. palustris fairbridgei) and species (P. montanus) are recognized from geographically outlying localities. Here a 486 bp fragment of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) mtDNA was sequenced in 68 individuals from 23 localities in order to evaluate the accepted taxonomy, to examine the evolutionary history of the species, and to identify lineages to prioritize conservation of wetlands already substantially modified. MtDNA showed individual populations to be largely distinct and differentiated. The 41 unique haplotypes formed seven independent, geographically defined networks. Phylogenetic analysis retrieved corresponding subclades, with three well-supported larger clades occurring (1) north of the Swan River, (2) south of the Swan River, and (3) in an area further south. A clear pattern of isolation by distance was detected suggesting an ancient serial founder event, with the pattern possibly persisting in the face of limited gene flow through priority effects. The possibility of incipient speciation, the monophyly of the recognized subspecies and the paraphyly of P. palustris with respect to P. montanus, suggest that the current taxonomy is invalid and requires re-examination. Divergences suggest a mid- to early Pliocene divergence of the major clades, with early Pliocene divergences among subclades probably driven by documented intense arid periods. Lineages are present in wetlands in geologically younger environments suggesting in situ survival and persistence. Seven Evolutionarily Significant Units were identified for the conservation of Paramphisopus, two of which are not currently represented in conservation reserves. With increased water demand and the negative impact of surrounding land-use, the current study provides a first phylogeographic assessment of conservation priorities for wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain.


COI mtDNA Dune systems Groundwater Isolation by distance Persistent founder event P. montanus P. palustris var. fairbridgei 

Supplementary material

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Animal BiologyThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource ManagementThe University of Western AustraliaAlbanyAustralia

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