Distribution and conservation status of fairy shrimps (Crustacea: Anostraca) in the astatic soda pans of the Carpathian basin: the role of local and spatial factors
AbstractThe distribution of Branchinecta orientalis, B. ferox and Chirocephalus carnuntanus was assessed in the natural and semi-natural astatic soda pans of the Carpathian basin. In Europe, these habitats are exclusively restricted to Hungary (Great Hungarian Plain), Austria (Seewinkel) and Serbia (Vojvodina). The present research is the first comprehensive large-scale study – covering an area of approximately 125,000 km2 – on these three fairy shrimp species in the region, and it is important especially in the case of Branchinecta spp., due to former taxonomical uncertainties. The local, land use and spatial effects on the species distribution were also analysed. The three anostracans were found to adopt different strategies, mainly according to the salinity of the pans. The apparently halophilous B. orientalis tolerated higher salinities than the other species, which can be regarded as habitat-generalist halotolerants, showing a high preference for soda waters in Central Europe. The density of the species was significantly affected only by local factors, while their occurrence was influenced also by pan isolation. Land use did not explain a significant amount of variation in either case. In conclusion, soda pans with a wide range of different salinities constitute a suitable habitat for all the three species. Also, protected areas with high number of pans – as Seewinkel (in Austria) or Kiskunság (in Hungary) – can play an essential role in the long-term conservation of these anostracans. Finally, we suggest that these species should be legally protected, primarily because the number of their habitats in the basin is seriously declining.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Zsófia Horváth, Csaba Ferenc Vad, Lajos Vörös, Emil Boros
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