Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Do lowland habitats represent barriers to dispersal for a rainforest mayfly, Bungona narilla, in south-east Queensland?

Alison J. McLean A B , Daniel J. Schmidt A and Jane M. Hughes A

A Australian Rivers Institute, Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 59(9) 761-771
Submitted: 26 October 2007  Accepted: 29 June 2008   Published: 7 October 2008


Long-distance dispersal might be an important mechanism for the maintenance of aquatic insect populations in heterogeneous landscapes. However, these events can be difficult to measure by direct observation because the techniques can be time-consuming, expensive and technically difficult. When dispersal results in gene flow within and between populations, patterns of variation can be detected by genetic methods. The levels of population genetic structuring and the relationship between gene flow and geographical distance were assessed in the mayfly species Bungona narilla (Harker, 1957) in rainforest streams in south-east Queensland that are separated by lowland habitats. An analysis of molecular variance based on mitochondrial DNA data, using a fragment of the cytochrome oxidase I gene, revealed significant differentiation between regions, suggesting that maternal gene flow was restricted. A nested clade analysis revealed patterns of historical (contiguous) range expansions and recent restricted gene flow along with some long-distance dispersal events. Our analyses have shown that populations of B. narilla are significantly structured throughout the species range in south-east Queensland and that the low elevation habitats separating the northern and southern populations are restricting gene flow to some extent.

Additional keywords: gene flow, genetics, mitochondrial DNA, nested clade, population structure.


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