Amphipods are key organisms in many freshwater systems and contribute substantially to the diversity and functioning of macroinvertebrate communities. Furthermore, they are commonly used as bioindicators and for ecotoxicological tests. For many areas, however, diversity and distribution of amphipods is inadequately known, which limits their use in ecological and ecotoxicological studies and handicaps conservation initiatives. We studied the diversity and distribution of amphipods in Switzerland (Central Europe), covering four major drainage basins, an altitudinal gradient of >2,500 m, and various habitats (rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater). We provide the first provisional checklist and detailed information on the distribution and diversity of all amphipod species from Switzerland. In total, we found 29 amphipod species. This includes 16 native and 13 non-native species, one of the latter (Orchestia cavimana) reported here for the first time for Switzerland. The diversity is compared to neighboring countries. We specifically discuss species of the genus Niphargus, which are often receiving less attention. We also found evidence of an even higher level of hidden diversity, and the potential occurrence of further cryptic species. This diversity reflects the biogeographic past of Switzerland, and suggests that amphipods are ideally suited to address questions on endemism and adaptive radiations, post-glaciation re-colonization and invasion dynamics as well as biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in aquatic systems.

Altermatt, F., Alther, R., Fišer, C., Jokela, J., Konec, M., Küry, D., Mächler, E., Stucki, P., & Westram, A. M. (2014). Diversity and Distribution of Freshwater Amphipod Species in Switzerland (Crustacea: Amphipoda). PLoS ONE, 9(10), e110328.