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Strong genetic differentiation and low genetic diversity of the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera L.) in the southwestern European distribution range

AutorStoeckle, Bernard C.; Araujo, Rafael; Geist, Juergen; Kuehn, Ralph; Toledo, Carlos ; Machordom, Annie
Palabras clavePeripheral populations
Freshwater mussels
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2017
CitaciónConservation Genetics 18(1): 147-157 (2017)
ResumenGenetic diversity of European freshwater pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera (L.), appears exceptional with highest genetic variability found in the northernmost European populations of Scandinavia and lower genetic variability in central and southern Europe. The objective of this study was to investigate genetic diversity and differentiation of 14 southernmost populations on the Iberian Peninsula which greatly differ in terms of life span and habitat conditions from the rest of central and northern European populations. The analyses of ten microsatellite loci revealed a pronounced level of genetic divergence and very low genetic diversity. These results match the expectations of geographically peripheral populations with respect to their genetic composition. The life history strategy, the narrow ecological niche of the species, and anthropogenic habitat modifications have most likely shaped the genetic pattern of Iberian pearl mussel populations. The peripheral position with less optimal habitat conditions may increase the extinction risk of these populations and thus effective conservation strategies for the Iberian M. margaritifera are needed. The successful conservation of the species at its southwestern margin requires inclusion of genetically different conservation units which may reveal local adaptation.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1007/s10592-016-0889-3
issn: 1572-9737
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