Many ephemeral mudflat species, which rely on a soil seed bank to build up the next generation, are endangered in their natural habitat due to the widespread regulation of rivers. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the role of the soil seed bank and dispersal for the maintenance of genetic diversity in populations of nearnatural river habitats and anthropogenic habitats created by traditional fish farming practices using Cyperus fuscus as a model. Using microsatellite markers, we found no difference in genetic diversity levels between soil seed bank and above-ground population and only moderate differentiation between the two fractions. One possible interpretation is the difference in short-term selection during germination under specific conditions (glasshouse versus field) resulting in an ecological filtering of genotypes out of the reservoir in the soil. River populations harbored significantly more genetic diversity than populations from the anthropogenic pond types. We suggest that altered levels and patterns of dispersal together with stronger selection pressures and historical bottlenecks in anthropogenic habitats are responsible for the observed reduction in genetic diversity. Dispersal is also supposed to largely prohibit genetic structure across Europe, although there is a gradient in private allelic richness from southern Europe (high values) to northern, especially north-western, Europe (low values), which probably relates to postglacial expansion out of southern and/or eastern refugia.
K E Y W O R D SCyperus fuscus, Isoëto-Nanojuncetea, long-distance dispersal, microsatellites, ornithochory, selfing | 3621 BÖCKELMANN Et AL.