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Toward the conservation of the European cave salamander (Proteus anguinus): monitoring guidelines, current status estimation and identification of evolutionarily significant units


The European cave salamander, or proteus (Proteus anguinus), is a Slovenian national symbol, endemic to the Dinaric Karst. Formally, it is protected as Annex II priority species of the EU Habitat Directive. Until now, Slovenian proteus populations have not been monitored, nor is there any program of monitoring under way. The proteus is an extraordinary animal whose underground populations cannot be studied by conventional biological methods, nor can they be censused directly by counting individuals. What is required are innovative approaches using new technologies, including various molecular and genomic techniques and special methods of detection. We are going to apply next generation sequencing methods to develop microsatellite markers, estimate population sizes by genetic mark-recapture modelling, develop a monitoring approach using effective population size as key parameter, and estimate the available but unknown habitat by speleogenetic habitat modeling.

Research Project

človeška ribica