Limited genetic diversity and high differentiation among the remnant adder Vipera berus populations in the Swiss and French Jura Mountains

Ursenbacher, S.; Monney, J.-Claude; Fumagalli, L.

Conservation Genetics 10(2): 303-315

2009


ISSN/ISBN: 1566-0621
DOI: 10.1007/s10592-008-9580-7
Accession: 037438858

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Abstract
Although the adder (Vipera berus) has a large distribution area, this species is particularly threatened in Western Europe due to high habitat fragmentation and human persecution. We developed 13 new microsatellite markers in order to evaluate population structure and genetic diversity in the Swiss and French Jura Mountains, where the species is limited to only a few scattered populations. We found that V. berus exhibits a considerable genetic differentiation among populations (global FST = 0.269), even if these are not geographically isolated. Moreover, the genetic diversity within populations in the Jura Mountains and in the less perturbed Swiss Alps is significantly lower than in other French populations, possibly due to post-glacial recolonisation processes. Finally, in order to minimize losses of genetic diversities within isolated populations, suggestions for the conservation of this species in fragmented habitats are proposed

Limited genetic diversity and high differentiation among the remnant adder Vipera berus populations in the Swiss and French Jura Mountains