Introduction

In 2010 the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit specified the most important levels of biodiversity that should receive attention in conservation managements: genetic variability, species and, finally, ecosystems (Noss et al. 2012). Relics are of special interest in conservation because their long-term survival in sheltered conditions and reflects complex evolutionary histories of the areas, where they have survived (Varga 2010). The Carpathians are widely recognized as most important biodiversity hotspots  for  temperate  mountain  species  in  Europe  (Stewart  2009).  These  regions  harbor  high biodiversity  and  important  number  of  relics  due  to  their  long-term  environmental  stability  and particular palaeoecological history. However, data  on origin and age of the majority of Carpathian relics are very limited.  Global climate  change (GCC) is expected to lead to massive biodiversity loss in mountain ecosystems (around 70-80%) with high conservation value, but reliable studies on the potential effects of GCC on these mountain ecosystems, especially in the Carpathians remain sparse (see Noss et al. 2012, Balint et al. 2011). In  the  frame  of  the  present  project  proposal  we  select  relic  taxa   belonging  to  different groups (plants vs. animals, terrestrial vs. aquatic) as model organisms, because the convergences in their  evolutionary  history  could  reflect  common  reactions  to  the  ongoing  global  climate  change implying  the  possibility  of  generalization  to  wet  and  humid  ecosystems  in  the  Carpathians. Altogether three narrow endemic Carpathian relic taxa will be selected in the present study, as followings:  plants species like Erythronium dens-canis, but also Hepatica transsilvanica and Campanula carpatica, wingless weevills, Othyorrhynchus rufomarginatus, O. remotegranulatus,  and tipuloid dipterans fron the genera Pedicia and Dicranota. These model organisms have strong affinity to Carpathian forested wet and humid ecosystems and the congruencies in their evolutionary histories can lead to better understanding of the conditions of these “hotspots” in Europe, and promote the elaboration of appropriate conservation policies.

Main obiectives:

(a) identification of the distribution of selected model organisms  in  the  Carpathians; 

(b)  estimation  of  morphological,  morphometric  and  molecular diversity within groups and within species: identification of cryptic diversity, description of cryptic species; 

(c)  building  up  the  evolutionary  history  of  the  selected  organisms  based  on  population genetic data (introgressions, bottlenecks etc.);

(d) characterization of the ecological requirements of the selected species and identification of possiblesuitable areas based on niche analysis;

(e) testing the survival potential of model organisms, thus, their ecosystems, based on different climate change scenarios,  thus  testing  the  vulnerability  of  the  ecosystems,  which  house  endemic  and  relic organisms;

(f) contouring the importance of Carpathians as biodiversity hotspots and glacial refuges and support the importance of conservation their endemic species and ecosystems.