Conservation genetics of the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme) with special focus on the populations in northwestern Germany and in Jutland, Denmark

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  • Liselotte Wesley Andersen
  • Ronja Dirksen, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
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  • Elena A. Nikulina, Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Foundation
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  • Hans J. Baagøe, Københavns Universitet
  • ,
  • Gunars Petersons, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies
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  • Péter Estók, Eszterházy Károly University
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  • Oleg L. Orlov, Tyumen State University, Ural State Medical University
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  • Maria V. Orlova, Tyumen State University, Tomsk State University
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  • Florian Gloza-Rausch, Noctalis Fledermaus-Zentrum GmbH
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  • Matthias Göttsche, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
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  • Esben Terp Fjederholt, Myotis v. Esben T. Fjederholt
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  • Frauke Krüger, Hamann & Schulte Umweltplanung
  • ,
  • Morten Elmeros

Conservation genetics is important in the management of endangered species, helping to understand their connectivity and long-term viability, thus identifying populations of importance for conservation. The pond bat (Myotis dasycneme) is a rare species classified as “Near Threatened” with a wide but patchy Palearctic distribution. A total of 277 samples representing populations in Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Hungary, and Russia were used in the genetic analyses; 224 samples representing Denmark, Germany, and Russia were analyzed at 10 microsatellite loci; 241 samples representing all areas were analyzed using mitochondrial D-loop and cytochrome B sequences. A Bayesian clustering approach revealed two poorly resolved clusters, one representing the Danish and German groups and the other the Russian group. However, significantly different pairwise F ST and D EST estimates were observed between the Danish and German groups and between the Danish and Russian groups suggesting a recent population structure. These conflicting results might be attributed to the effect of migration or low resolution due to the number of microsatellite markers used. After concatenating the two mitochondrial sequences, analysis detected significant genetic differentiation between all populations, probably due to genetic drift combined with a founder event. The phylogenetic tree suggested a closer relationship between the Russian and Northern European populations compared to the Hungarian population, implying that the latter belongs to an older ancestral population. This was supported by the observed haplotype network and higher nucleotide diversity in this population. The genetic structuring observed in the Danish/German pond bat stresses the need for a cross-border management between the two countries. Further, the pronounced mtDNA structuring, together with the indicated migration between nearby populations suggest philopatric female behavior but male migration, emphasizes the importance of protecting suitable habitat mosaics to maintain a continuum of patches with dense pond bat populations across the species' distribution range.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
Pages (from-to)5292-5308
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • conservation genetics, cross-border management, migration, Myotis dasycneme, phylogeny, population structure

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