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Data from: Greece: a Balkan subrefuge for a remnant red deer (Cervus elaphus) population

Cite this dataset

Karaiskou, Nikoleta et al. (2014). Data from: Greece: a Balkan subrefuge for a remnant red deer (Cervus elaphus) population [Dataset]. Dryad.


A number of phylogeographic studies have revealed the existence of multiple ice age refugia within the Balkan Peninsula marking it as a biodiversity hotspot. Greece has been reported to harbour genetically differentiated lineages from the rest of Balkans for a number of mammal species. We therefore searched for distinct red deer lineages in Greece, by analysing 78 samples originating from its last population in Parnitha Mountain (central Greece). Additionally, we tested the impact of human-induced practices on this population. The presence of two discrete mtDNA lineages was inferred: i) an abundant one not previously sampled in the Balkans and ii) a more restricted one shared with other Balkan populations, possibly the result of successful translocations of eastern-European individuals. Microsatellite-based analyses of 14 loci strongly support the existence of two subpopulations with relative frequencies similar to mitochondrial analyses. This study stresses the biogeographic importance of central Greece as a separate last Glacial Maximun Period (LGM) refugium within the Balkans. It also delineates the possible effects that recent translocations of red deer populations had on the genetic structuring within Parnitha. We suggest that the Greek red deer population of Parnitha is genetically distinct and restocking programs should take this genetic evidence into consideration.

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