The Kalkalpen National Park in Upper Austria is of high importance concerning nature conservation directives (European nature reserve Natura 2000, recognized wetland of the Ramsar convention). The NP Kalkalpen is inhabited by several endemic species, among these are two spring snails described on the basis of morphological and anatomical characters: Belgrandiella aulaei and Bythiospeum nocki (Haase et al. 2000). Apart from that, the knowledge of the hydrobioid species in the national park is incomplete.
In the current survey, the spring snails of the Kalkalpen National Park are investigated in more detail. From about 38 springs, snails are collected and examined by morphological determination and photographic documentation. Since this group of tiny snails, which displays high variability in shell shape within species, is notoriously hard to determine, morphological determinations will be with DNA barcoding. However, for the rarer species it is very challenging to find living specimen. As part of this project the PCR protocol was optimized and specific primers for the barcoding region were developed. The data will be compared with DNA sequences from the ABOL Mollusca project the BOLD databank. For some species we will establish the first reference DNA barcode.
The investigation of hydrobioid species is all the more important, as they are essential for water quality assessment and several species are threatened (for example by construction works for drinking water production or by grazing cattle). Species identification by DNA barcoding will help to generate thorough knowledge of the species distribution in the NP Kalkalpen, and hence provides the basis for the protection of unique hydrobioid species.
Project status: active
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