The Biodiversity and Biogeographical Characteristics of the River Basins of Montenegro
Book Section (Accepted Version)
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
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The territory of Montenegro includes three freshwater ecoregional units: the Dalmatian, the Southeastern Adriatic, and the Dniester-Lower Danube Ecoregions. The boundaries of the Dalmatian and Southeastern Adriatic Ecoregions in Montenegro are not clear and require revision. Contrary to the accepted FEOW global freshwater ecoregion system, which places the eastern border of the Dalmatian Ecoregion near the town of Budva, we have accepted that the eastern border of the Dalmatian Ecoregion ends or overlaps with the eastern boundary of the Trebišnjica river basin (Lake Bileć). The northwestern boundaries of the Southeastern Adriatic Ecoregion overlap with the distribution border of the fish Pelasgus minutus. We emphasize that not only those fish that are traditionally used to model ecoregional delineations of freshwater ecosystems but also other groups of organisms, such as underground fauna, have proven to be good biogeographical indicators, especially in the karst areas where surface running waters are scarce and drains underground. The karst had a decisive influence on the hydrographic isolation and vicariance, which has led to high numbers of so-called local endemics, whose distribution has been useful in understanding the biogeographic patterns of river basins in Montenegro. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the diversity and ecology issues related to the aquatic biota of the main river basins in Montenegro and identify the main gaps in our knowledge on these unique ecosystems.