The Last Glacial Maximum shaped today’s subterranean diversity

The reconstructed Last Glacial Maximum ice extent and groundwater amphipod sampling sites across Switzerland. Black dots indicate sampled sites and orange dots indicate sites where groundwater amphipods were found.

As part of Mara Knüsel’s impressive PhD work, we publisehd a paper in Ecography that explores how Late Pleistocene glaciation influenced the diversity and distribution of 36 groundwater amphipod species in the Alpine and peri-Alpine regions. It is based on a massive citizen science approach in collaboration with drinking water providers. The analysis, based on data from over 1,000 systematic sampling sites across Switzerland, reveals a significant impact of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ice extent on the current distribution of groundwater amphipods. The findings highlight a pronounced species turnover and distinct spatial envelopes of species occurrences in zones that were formerly ice-covered, ice-free, or transitional.

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