ARPHA Conference Abstracts : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Conservation genetics of the vulnerable stone crayfish using DNA barcoding and microsatellites
expand article infoLeona Lovrenčić, Lena Bonassin, Frederic Grandjean§, Chris M Austin|, Ivana Maguire
‡ University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Zagreb, Croatia
§ University of Poitiers, Laboratoire Ecologie Biologie des Interactions-UMR CNRS 7267, Poitiers, France
| Deakin University, School of Ecology and Environment, Geelong, Australia
Open Access


The stone crayfish Austropotamobius torrentium is a native European freshwater species with significant population declines caused by anthropogenic pressure onto its habitats, climate change and spreading of non-native invasive crayfish and their pathogens. Large-scale DNA barcoding based on sequencing a short fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene revealed this species represents a highly divergent taxon whose evolutionary heritage is preserved in genetically divergent mtDNA phylogroups, with majority of them having restricted distribution ranges. Guarding in mind vanishing populations trends and potential loss of genetic diversity, effective conservation planning and monitoring are needed for ensuring the persistence and long-term survival of this endangered species. Since genetic data are often critical for defining populations for conservation and management purposes, along with DNA barcoding, we employed microsatellites to examine samples of more than 400 individuals from 17 populations across its entire distribution range in Croatia, known as the stone crayfish diversity hot spot. Microsatellite analyses revealed high level of genetic diversity and differentiation among studied populations that grouped according to their geographical position and mtDNA phylogroup. Almost all sampled populations represent a distinct genetic cluster, showing high level of differentiation and reflecting long periods of isolation. Results of genetic characterisation enabled selection of suitable donor populations for future restocking and reintroduction programs. Combination of DNA barcoding and microsatellites provided good insight into genetic diversity and population structure as well as enabled sound conservation programs for this threatened species in Croatia.


Austropotamobius torrentium, freshwater, mtDNA, COI, diversity

Presenting author

Leona Lovrenčić

Presented at

1st DNAQUA International Conference (March 9-11, 2021)

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