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Article

Evaluating the Conservation Status of a North-Western Iberian Earthworm (Compostelandrilus cyaneus) with Insight into Its Genetic Diversity and Ecological Preferences

1
Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (CEFE), Université Montpellier, 34000 Montpellier, France
2
Grupo de Ecoloxía Animal (GEA), Universidade de Vigo, E-36310 Vigo, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Petr Kotlík
Genes 2022, 13(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13020337
Received: 5 January 2022 / Revised: 4 February 2022 / Accepted: 10 February 2022 / Published: 11 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution and Ecology of Soil Invertebrates)
In spite of the high conservation value of soil fauna, the evaluation of their conservation status has usually been neglected. This is more evident for earthworms, one of the most important ecosystem service providers in temperate habitats but rarely the subject of conservation research. These studies have not been developed in Western Europe, which comprises high diversity and several early-branching, relic genera. One potentially menaced representative of this fauna is Compostelandrilus cyaneus; this risk can be assessed by implementing potential distribution modeling and genetic diversity monitoring to their known populations. Genetic barcoding was performed in representatives of four populations (three of them newly sampled) in order to estimate genetic diversity and population genetics parameters. Ensemble species distribution models were built by combining several algorithms and using the five more relevant bioclimatic and soil variables as predictors. A large amount of genetic diversity was found in a small area of less than 20 km2, with populations located in less managed, better-preserved habitats showing higher genetic variability than populations isolated from natural habitats and surrounded by anthropic habitats. Potential distribution appears to be strongly restricted at a regional scale, and suitable habitats within the extent of occurrence appear fragmented and relatively limited. In addition, the main variables determining the ecological niche of C. cyaneus suggests a vulnerability to climate change and increasing soil compaction. Based on this knowledge, this species was assessed as Critically Endangered following the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species criteria, and some potential conservation actions are suggested. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; soil fauna; earthworms; genetic diversity; ecological niche modeling biodiversity conservation; soil fauna; earthworms; genetic diversity; ecological niche modeling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Marchán, D.F.; Domínguez, J. Evaluating the Conservation Status of a North-Western Iberian Earthworm (Compostelandrilus cyaneus) with Insight into Its Genetic Diversity and Ecological Preferences. Genes 2022, 13, 337. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13020337

AMA Style

Marchán DF, Domínguez J. Evaluating the Conservation Status of a North-Western Iberian Earthworm (Compostelandrilus cyaneus) with Insight into Its Genetic Diversity and Ecological Preferences. Genes. 2022; 13(2):337. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13020337

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marchán, Daniel F., and Jorge Domínguez. 2022. "Evaluating the Conservation Status of a North-Western Iberian Earthworm (Compostelandrilus cyaneus) with Insight into Its Genetic Diversity and Ecological Preferences" Genes 13, no. 2: 337. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13020337

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