Melita Vamberger

Melita Vamberger
Senckenberg Research Institute · Research Museum of Zoology Dresden

Dr.

About

103
Publications
53,857
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,175
Citations
Introduction
My main research interests are speciation, gene flow, adaptation, and evolution of different turtle taxa using an integrative approach that combines genetic and ecological methods, especially in the Western Palearctic and sub-Saharan Africa.
Education
October 2009 - December 2014
University of Leipzig
Field of study
  • Comparison of phylogeographic patterns in two closely related turtle species (Mauremys caspica, M. rivulata)
October 2002 - September 2008

Publications

Publications (103)
Article
Full-text available
The exact understanding of distribution and natural history is the necessary prerequisite for conservation of the endangered European pond turtle. In this study we examined the distribution and population size of pond turtles in Ljubljansko barje, a bog of European importance (Natura 2000 site, intended to be included into the Convention on Wetland...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally assumed that ectothermic vertebrates show a reversed Bergmann's cline, but several studies suggest the opposite for turtles. Here, we assess this issue using the widely distributed European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), which displays strong geographic size variation. We tested carapace lengths of more than 2000 individuals from t...
Article
Recent studies indicate that hybridization in animals occurs more frequently than previously thought and that it may play an important evolutionary role. Chelonians are capable of extensive hybridization, raising the question how chelonian species evolve and maintain genetic integrity despite hybridization. Here, we use two sister species with para...
Article
Using virtually range-wide sampling for three pond turtle taxa (Emys orbicularis galloitalica, E. o. hellenica, E. trinacris), we analyse gene flow across their southern Italian contact zone. Based on population genetic analyses of 15 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci and a mitochondrial marker, we show that the general genetic pattern matches...
Article
Full-text available
Traditionally, one giraffe species and up to eleven subspecies have been recognized [1]; however, nine subspecies are commonly accepted [2]. Even after a century of research, the distinctness of each giraffe subspecies remains unclear, and the genetic variation across their distribution range has been incompletely explored. Recent genetic studies o...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in the structural association of skeletal traits are crucial to the evolution of novel forms and functions. In vertebrates, such rearrangements often occur gradually and may precede or coincide with the functional activation of skeletal traits. To illustrate this process, we examined the ontogeny of African hinge-back tortoises (Kinixys spp...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new species from the Pelodiscus axenaria complex from Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces, China. Also, the application of the name P. axenaria (Zhou, Zhang & Fang, 1991) is clarified by designating a neotype for this species. Besides its genetic divergence, the new species differs from all other Pelodiscus species, including the two other ta...
Article
Full-text available
In the Himalayas, a number of secondary contact zones have been described for vicariant vertebrate taxa. However, analyses of genetic divergence and admixture are missing for most of these examples. In this study, we provide a population genetic analysis for the coal tit (Periparus ater) hybrid zone in Nepal. Intermediate phenotypes between the dis...
Article
Full-text available
Revealing the genetic basis of the existence of different species living together in different geographic regions provides clarification of this phylogeographic differentiation. In this study, we investigated the population genetics and evaluated the level of genetic variation of inland and coastal populations of Mauremys and Emys in Turkey. Tissue...
Article
Full-text available
Sub-Saharan Africa harbours an outstanding diversity of tortoises of which the leopard tortoise Stigmochelys pardalis is the most widespread. Across its’ range the species is impacted by habitat transformation, over-collection for human consumption and the pet trade, road mortality, and electrocution by electric fences. Most leopard tortoises in so...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we examined the population of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) in the Prilipe oxbow lakes along the Sava River. The species' sex and age structure were estimated as well its population size. In the area of approximately 5.9 ha of water surface, 3 individuals were found in 2008 and 70 in 2019, when a more detailed survey was...
Article
Full-text available
The geographical pattern of genetic diversity was investigated in the endemic Sicilian pond turtle Emys trinacris across its entire distribution range, using 16 microsatellite loci. Overall, 245 specimens of E. trinacris were studied, showing high polymorphic microsatellite loci, with allele numbers ranging from 7 to 30. STRUCTURE and GENELAND anal...
Article
Full-text available
The last species list of the European herpetofauna was published by Speybroeck, Beukema and Crochet (2010). In the meantime, ongoing research led to numerous taxonomic changes, including the discovery of new species-level lineages as well as reclassifications at genus level, requiring significant changes to this list. As of 2019, a new Taxonomic Co...
Article
Full-text available
Using range-wide sampling and 1,143 bp of mtDNA (cytochrome b gene) and 14 microsatellite loci, we examined genetic differentiation in the widely distributed Southern African angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata). We found evidence for two genealogical lineages that differ in both genetic marker systems and their preferred habitat conditions. Accor...
Article
Full-text available
Grass snakes are widely distributed across the Western Palearctic. Recent phylogeo-graphic studies provided evidence that three distinct parapatric species exist. Two of these occur in Italy, Natrix helvetica and N. natrix, and a contact zone between both taxa has been suggested for northeastern Italy. Moreover, previous investigations revealed for...
Article
Full-text available
The Lobatse Hinge-back Tortoise, Kinixys lobatsiana (Power, 1927), has a small distribution range in northern South Africa and adjacent Botswana. Local populations have been fragmented by degradation and destruction of suitable habitat, resulting in this species being listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. Here, the geographic distribution of K. lobatsiana...
Article
Full-text available
We studied for the first time the molecular differentiation of all three currently recognized subspecies of Trachemys scripta, including the morphologically distinct western populations of T. s. elegans ('western red-eared sliders'), using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences (up to 3,236 bp and 2,738 bp, respectively) and 14 microsatellite loci...
Article
Full-text available
Under different environmental conditions, hybridization between the same species might result in different patterns of genetic admixture. Particularly, species pairs with large distribution ranges and long evolutionary history may have experienced several independent hybridization events over time in different zones of overlap. In birds, the divers...
Article
Full-text available
Records from the putative gap in the distribution range of Pelomedusa galeata in western South Africa provide evidence for the occurrence of helmeted terrapins in those areas. Further research is needed to reveal the genetic and taxonomic identity of these populations.
Article
Full-text available
Pelusios sinuatus is distributed in East Africa from southern Ethiopia and Somalia to northeastern South Africa. Inland it reaches westernmost Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Burundi. Despite this wide range, which spans in north-south direction across 3,500 km and in east-west direction more than 1,500 km, no geographic variation has been described. However...
Article
In contrast to mammals, little is known about the phylogeographic structuring of widely distributed African reptile species. With the present study, we contribute data for the leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis). It ranges from the Horn of Africa southward to South Africa and westwards to southern Angola. However, its natural occurrence is dis...
Article
Full-text available
Hybrid zones are natural laboratories allowing insights in genetic processes like lineage diversification, speciation and introgression. Using large sampling, 15 microsatellite loci and a mitochondrial marker, we examined the Pyrenean contact zone of three pond turtle taxa (Emys orbicularis orbicularis, E. o. galloitalica, E. o. occidentalis). The...
Article
Full-text available
Based on rangewide sampling and three mitochondrial and two nuclear markers (together up to 1,850 bp and 1,840 bp, respectively), we examine the phylogeography of two helmeted terrapin species (Pelomedusa galeata and P. subrufa sensu stricto) and infer shifts of climatically suitable spaces since the Last Glacial Maximum using a modeling approach....
Data
Studied samples and ENA accession numbers for DNA sequences
Data
Alignment of concatenated mtDNA for TCS network
Article
Problems with the reliability of the distribution map for Emys orbicularis in the online atlas of European amphibians and reptiles (NA2RE) are highlighted. Two distinct species (E. orbicularis, E. trinacris) are lumped together there. For E. orbicularis, many regions are included into the native distribution range where the species does not occur n...
Article
Full-text available
Chinese softshell turtles (Pelodiscus spp.) are widely distributed, ranging from the Amur and Ussuri Rivers in the Russian Far East through the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and eastern, central, and southern China to southern Vietnam. In East and Southeast Asia, Chinese softshell turtles are traditionally exploited for food and have been farm-bred in C...
Article
Full-text available
The Fifth International Symposium on Emys orbicularis and the other European Freshwater Turtles was held in Kiten, Bulgaria, on 19–21 August 2015. It continued the tradition of international collaboration and exchange of knowledge related to the chelonians. The resultant proceedings combine 22 papers presented in the program of the symposium. They...
Article
Full-text available
Mimicking venomous species is widespread among animals, especially snakes. This concerns both visual and behavioral mimicry. Raising the forepart of the body and flattening the neck are characteristic defense behaviors of cobras and mimicked by several non-venomous snake species that co-occur with them. Here we describe the cobra stance for grass s...
Article
Map turtles of the genus Graptemys are native to North America, where a high degree of drainage endemism is believed to have shaped current diversity. With 14 species and one additional subspecies, Graptemys represents the most diverse genus in the family Emydidae. While some Graptemys species are characterized by pronounced morphological differenc...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies found major conflicts between traditional taxonomy and genetic differentiation of grass snakes and identified previously unknown secondary contact zones. Until now, little is known about gene flow across these contact zones. Using two mitochondrial markers and 13 microsatellite loci, we examined two contact zones. One, largely corres...
Article
Cambodia is known to harbour three distinct species of Southeast Asian leaf turtles (Cyclemys spp.), which are heavily traded and common in seizures of wildlife. Confiscated leaf turtles are often released to natural habitats. Thus, an exact knowledge of the distribution of the individual species is of great importance to avoid the introduction of...
Article
Full-text available
It is not unexpected that a proposal, such as ours [1] , of four new mammalian species stirs up controversy, as evident in the correspondence by Bercovitch et al. [2] . We appreciate that their concerns are unrelated to the quality of the genetic data, the methodological approach or analyses, but are focused on the interpretation. Thus, we provided...
Article
Full-text available
Ancient DNA of extinct species from the Pleistocene and Holocene has provided valuable evolutionary insights. However, these are largely restricted to mammals and high latitudes because DNA preservation in warm climates is typically poor. In the tropics and subtropics, non-avian reptiles constitute a significant part of the fauna and little is know...
Article
Full-text available
Ten new observations of the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Podravje region are presented. One observation is fairly old, while the others have been made in the last six years. Most of the data are just random observations and do not give a complete overview of the species distribution in the Podravje region. New data...
Article
Africa, inclusive of the West Indian Ocean islands, harbours 11 of the world’s 16 extant testudinid genera. Fossil records indicate that testudinids originated in Asia and dispersed first to North America and Europe (Early Eocene) and later to Africa (Late Eocene). We used mitochondrial (1870 bp) and nuclear (1416 bp) DNA sequence data to assess wh...
Article
Full-text available
Based on DNA sequences derived from two hatchlings from the Alwero river, Gambela Region, Cyclanorbis senegalensis is recorded for the first time for western Ethiopia. Previously published DNA sequences of C. senegalensis from Benin and Togo are slightly different, suggesting phylogeographic structure.
Article
Full-text available
Endemic Sicilian pond turtles Emys trinacris were examined for the presence of haemogregarine parasites. The presence of haemogregarines, occurring mainly in the microgametocyte stage (13.2 ± 0.12 μm in length and 6.40 ± 0.52 μm in width), was observed in approximately 9% of the sampled Emys trinacris. Based on the observed morphology and on the se...
Article
Full-text available
Using samples of non-native pond sliders (Trachemys scripta) from three different climatic zones in Slovenia, we perform parentage analyses and use population genetic approaches to find out whether they successfully reproduce and are able to establish populations. Based on 14 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci, we provide evidence for successfu...