University of Oulu

Bolpagni, R., Magrini, S., Coppi, A., Troìa, A., Alahuhta, J., Mjelde, M. et al. (2021). Isoëtes sabatina (Isoëtaceae, Lycopodiopsida): Taxonomic distinctness and preliminary ecological insights. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 31( 10), 2690– 2696.

Isoëtes sabatina (Isoëtaceae, Lycopodiopsida) : taxonomic distinctness and preliminary ecological insights

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Author: Bolpagni, Rossano1; Magrini, Sara2; Coppi, Andrea3;
Organizations: 1Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Parma University, Parma, Italy
2Tuscia Germplasm Bank, Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy
3Department of Biology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
4Department of Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies (STEBICEF), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
5Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Freshwater Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, Oulu, Finland
7Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway
8Via Piemonte 35, Fonte Nuova, 00013 Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-10


  1. Isoëtes sabatina is the rarest aquatic quillwort in Europe. Although recently found (2013) in Lake Bracciano (central Italy), the species is just one step away from extinction with an estimated population not exceeding 400 individuals and a spatial range of a few hundred square metres.
  2. Lake Bracciano is a deep, oligo-mesotrophic Mediterranean volcanic lake that has been subjected to human activities. From January to October 2017, the lake experienced a dramatic water level decrease (up to −1.50 m), which significantly affected the littoral zone and the habitat of I. sabatina.
  3. To improve the chances of survival of I. sabatina, the first eco-taxonomic investigation on this species was carried out to describe its genetic distinctness, physical and chemical requirements and companion species.
  4. The phylogenetic position of I. sabatina was investigated by applying standard DNA barcoding methods. Simultaneously, during summer 2019, the physical and chemical features of water and sediments of the I. sabatina population and five small Alpine lakes colonized by Isoëtes echinospora — a supposed close relative — were characterized. These data were then compared with the available data on the trophic requirements of the target obligate aquatic Isoëtes, together with Isoëtes lacustris and Isoëtes malinverniana.
  5. The present survey confirmed the taxonomic and ecological distinctness of I. sabatina — providing the first evidence of genetic differentiation from I. echinospora. Isoëtes sabatina grows in waters with temperature, conductivity and total alkalinity up to 30°C, 561 μS cm⁻¹ and 3.45 meq L⁻¹, respectively.
  6. The edaphic requirements of I. sabatina confirm its outstanding conservation value, and this study offers a basic understanding of how to prevent its extinction. Now, all possible actions must be taken immediately to save this species.
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Series: Aquatic conservation
ISSN: 1052-7613
ISSN-E: 1099-0755
ISSN-L: 1052-7613
Volume: 31
Issue: 10
Pages: 2690 - 2696
DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3675
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: We would like to thank the Bracciano-Martignano Regional Park and the Latium Region for having financed the preliminary monitoring and ex-situ conservation programme of Isoëtes sabatina.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.