The genetic diversity of earthworm species

J. Klarica, M. Traugott, A. Juen (PI)

Earthworms adopt a central position in soil ecology and soil food-webs. Genetic markers, primers or sequences, could help to identify juvenile stages which lack reliable morphological characteristics or to investigate the interactions among predator communities and earthworms. This is essential for a better understanding of species diversities in soil systems and their dynamics. The construction of such molecular markers, however, relies on the knowledge of the genetic variability within and among species. Recent studies on species delimitation and phylogenetic relationship in earthworms (Annelida, Oligochaeta) raised questions on the genetic variability of specific gene sequences. Within this project several multiple-copy genes, nuclear and mitochondrial ones, will be investigated for their variability and their usefulness as species-, genus- or family- specific markers for earthworms.

Funding: University of Innsbruck (Young Scientist Award granted to A. Juen)


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