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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 738, Issue 1, pp 205–220 | Cite as

Biogeography of freshwater fishes of the Balkan Peninsula

  • Anthi OikonomouEmail author
  • Fabien Leprieur
  • Ioannis D. LeonardosEmail author
Primary Research Paper

Abstract

Delineating biogeographical regions is a critical step towards the establishment and evaluation of conservation priorities. In the present study, we analysed the distribution patterns of the freshwater fish of an understudied European biodiversity hotspot, the Balkan Peninsula. Based on the most extensive available database of native freshwater fish species distributions, we performed a hierarchical clustering analysis to identify the major biogeographical regions of the Balkan Peninsula. We also highlighted the ‘hottest hotspots’ of freshwater fish diversity across the delimited biogeographical regions by describing the patterns of species richness, endemic and vulnerable species; indicator species were also determined. The bioregionalisation scheme consisted of eight groups of drainage basins that correspond to distinct regions of the Balkan Peninsula. Overall, the delineated biogeographical regions varied in terms of species richness, endemism, vulnerability (i.e. extinction threats) and indicator species composition. From a conservation perspective, this study emphasises the prioritisation of areas characterised by high levels of irreplaceability (endemism) and vulnerability (i.e. the Attikobeotia region, Ionian Sea and Prespa Lakes) and stresses the necessity of implementing a network of protected freshwater areas across the Balkan Peninsula.

Keywords

Balkan Peninsula Beta diversity Bioregionalisation Endemism Freshwater fish Vulnerability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Alkiviades Economou provided insightful points which improved the manuscript. We are grateful to Milorad Mrakovčić, Marko Ćaleta and Zoran Marčić for the thoughtful comments and providing data on the distribution of Croatian freshwater fishes. We especially thank Simo Georgiev, Predrag Simonović, Avdo Sofradžija, Avdul Adrović, Trajce Talevski, Tomislav Treer, Apostolos Apostolou, Pero Tutman, Lachezar Pehlivanov, Mirjana Lenhardt, Argyris Sapounidis and Tihomir Stefanov for granting us access to scientific papers, books and reviews.

Supplementary material

10750_2014_1930_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (397 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 398 kb)
10750_2014_1930_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (216 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 217 kb)
10750_2014_1930_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (121 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 121 kb)
10750_2014_1930_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (143 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 144 kb)
10750_2014_1930_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (135 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (PDF 135 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Zoology, Department of Biological Applications and TechnologyUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.Laboratoire Ecologie des Systèmes Marins Côtiers UMR 5119CNRS, IRD, IFREMER, UM2, UM1, cc 093Montpellier Cedex 5France

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