Genetička struktura populacija sredozemnog potkovičara Rhinolophus euryale Blasius, 1853 u Srbiji i filogeografija ove vrste na Balkanskom poluostrvu
Population genetic structure of the Mediterranean horseshoe bat Rhinolophus euryale Blasius, 1853 in Serbia and phylogeography of this species on the Balkan peninsula
Doctoral thesis (Published version)
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The population genetic structure of a species is a result of past events such as bottlenecks, population expansion and secondary contact, as well as recent events and phenomena like migrations, philopatry, sociality etc. Climatic oscillations during the Pleistocene shaped the present distribution of genetic diversity of temperate biota in Europe. The Balkan peninsula has been recognized as a glacial refugium for many temperate species, including many bat species. The Mediterranean horseshoe bat Rhinolophus euryale is distributed in the Mediterranean area. It is predominantly cave-dwelling species and its distribution greatly overlaps with karstic regions. During summer females form nursery colonies where they give birth and rear pups, while in autumn both sexes gather together into hibernation roosts. Roost fidelity has been found in both sexes. R. euryale is considered to be a sedentary species, since the distance between summer and winter roosts is rarely greater than 50 km. Distribution of this species in Serbia overlaps with karstic areas in western and eastern Serbia. The aims of this thesis were to gather all available data about species’ distribution and to evaluate population trends in Serbia; testing ISSR-PCR method for reliable distinguishing this species from morphologically similar R. blasii. D-loop mitochondrial sequences were used for analyses of genetic diversity, demographic history and phylogeography of the Mediterranean horseshoe bat in the Balkan peninsula. Genetic variability of 12 populations in the central Balkans was analysed using nuclear microsatellites. Genetic differentiation and gene flow among populations from different geographic regions were estimated, and relatedness within different colony types was assessed. In the period from 2012 to 2017, R. euryale was found at 26 localities in Serbia (11 localities for the first time), and now the number of localities counts 73. Several new nursery and hibernation colonies of this species were found, as well as one male summer colony. Only one roost was found in a building, while the rest were in underground sites. No significant threats were identified, and the population trend of this species in Serbia is estimated to be stable. ISSR-PCR represents fast and reliable method for unambiguously distinguishing morphologically similar medium-sized horseshoe species R. euryale and R. blasii. This study represents first population genetic analysis of the Mediterranean horseshoe bat in the central Balkans. High haplotype diversity of mitochondrial D-loop sequences was found, and all samples from Europe, Anatolia and Northern Africa clustered within one phylogenetic clade. Obtained results support the scenario of a sudden demographic expansion, and it is estimated that this started in the late Pleistocene. The Balkan peninsula was probably one of the glacial refugia of this species in Europe. High genetic diversity was also found using nuclear microsatellites. Moderate genetic substructuring among geographic regions and significant isolation by distance were observed. Genetic differentiation among populations from western and eastern Serbia was small but significant, which can be explained by roost fidelity and non-migratory behaviour of the species. The population from Montenegro was genetically similar to ones from eastern Serbia, which implicates the potential existence of colonies between the analysed regions. Kinship is probably not a major factor driving grouping of females into nursery colonies, but, more likely, benefits from group thermoregulation and information transfer about suitable roosts and foraging areas. Information transfer is likely underlying the formation of male summer colonies. High genetic diversity was found among Mediterranean horseshoe bat populations in the central parts of the Balkan peninsula, both for nuclear and mitochondrial markers. These populations harbour significant portion of species’ genetic diversity, and they have been recognized as the most numerous and the most stable across the distribution of R. euryale. Therefore, protecting Balkan populations might play a vital role in conservation of Mediterranean horseshoe bat.
Keywords:Chiroptera; mtDNK; Rhinolophus euryale; D-loop; Gene flow; Isolation by distance; Kinship microsatellites; Refugium; Phylogeography
Source:University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology, 2019, 1-96
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