Critically low levels of genetic diversity in fragmented populations of the endangered Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish Euastacus bispinosus
Endangered Species Research
The Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish Euastacus bispinosus is a large endangered freshwater invertebrate of southeastern Australia that has suffered major population declines over the last century. Disjunct populations in the state of South Australia are in a particularly critical condition, restricted to a few isolated rising-spring habitats and in an ongoing state of decline. We assessed genetic diversity and gene flow within E. bispinosus across its current range using allele frequencies
... ele frequencies from 11 nuclear microsatellite loci and DNA sequence data from a single mitochondrial locus (cytochrome oxidase subunit I). Populations were characterized by low levels of genetic diversity and found to be highly structured, with gene flow restricted both within and across catchments, highlighting the species' vulnerability to further habitat fragmentation and the importance of managing environmental threats on local scales across its current natural range. South Australian populations were characterized by critically low levels of genetic diversity generally, highlighting their potential vulnerability to localized extinction. Holistic conservation efforts are necessary to conserve populations, including local habitat management and, potentially, translocations to increase genetic diversity and evolutionary potential, and reduce possible inbreeding effects and the threat of extinction.