- (Elegant sunburst lichen (Xanthoria elegans) close to the river Inn, uncertain identification © Roman Alther )
Amphipods are common and abundant crustaceans found worldwide. They constitute a crucial component of macroinvertebrate communities in aquatic ecosystems and contribute substantially to the functioning of the trophic relationships within aquatic ecosystems. But although their ecological importance is recognized, the actual diversity and distribution is still poorly studied in many areas, particularly in Switzerland. Up to now there exists neither a detailed overview of all amphipod species from the region, nor an identification key covering all present drainage areas. Using data that originate from various sources, such as the governmental biodiversity monitoring program and reports, published literature and our own extensive sampling, our project aims to close these gaps. The results and the collated database will help to understand the ecology of Swiss amphipods, the influence of connectivity on amphipod distribution and diversity and the early detection of non-native species.
(The river Lonza, originating from the Lang glacier in the canton of Vallais. An adult individual of Gammarus alpinus sp. nov. from Lake Constance © Roman Alther )