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The imprint of Quaternary glaciers on the present-day distribution of the obligate groundwater amphipod Niphargus virei (Niphargidae)

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Abstract Aim 

A plausible yet untested biogeographical scenario suggests that Quaternary glaciers shaped the present-day distribution of the groundwater amphipod Niphargus virei. This study was designed to test two hypotheses pertaining to this scenario: (1) the probability of occurrence of N. virei in ice-free areas decreases in the vicinity of the Würm glacier; and (2) dispersal is sufficiently low for the historical record of glacial effects to persist over time. Location 

The study area was located in the southern Jura Mountains, France. Methods 

A total of 497 sites were sampled to ascertain the distribution of N. virei in the southern Jura. Amplified fragment length polymorphism was analysed from a subset of 24 sites. The relationships between the probability of occurrence of N. virei and distance to the Würm glacier or elevation were investigated using a logistic regression. Spatial autocorrelation analyses were performed on both the residuals of the logistic regression and genetic distance to test the significance of dispersal and barriers to post-glacial recolonization. The influence of catchment boundaries as barriers to dispersal was examined using different neighbouring relationships between sites. We tested the statistical significance of the reduction in deviance and gain in precision of an autologistic regression that took into consideration the influence of dispersal constraints on the distribution of N. virei. Results 

Niphargus virei rarely occurred in formerly glaciated areas, and its probability of occurrence in ice-free areas decreased in the vicinity of the Würm glacier. Combined autocorrelation analyses of spatial distribution and spatial genetic structure showed that: (1) the distance at which spatial autocorrelation was no longer significantly positive did not exceed 16 km; (2) genetic differentiation fitted a model of isolation by distance; and (3) catchment boundaries acted as barriers to dispersal. The autologistic regression with dispersal constraints significantly increased our capacity to predict the distribution of N. virei. Maps of probabilities of occurrence suggested that post-glacial recolonization was impeded by the extension of glacial outwash. Main conclusions 

The present distribution of N. virei in southern Jura is probably the result of a historical range reduction driven by glaciation coupled with restricted dispersal and isolation by distance.

Keywords: AFLP; dispersal limitation; gene flow; glacial influence; karst landscape; logistic regression; population structure; spatial autocorrelation; subterranean fauna

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2008


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