Holarctic dragonflies

Holarctic dragonflies

I started my work on Arctic dragonflies by studying dragonfly Somatochlora sahlbergi, considered to be the northernmost dragonfly species, primarily distributed in the circumboreal region. Most of the populations for this species is distributed along and above the treeline. This species has been largely understudied because of its habitat, yet populations of S. sahlbergi are threatened because of global warming. My collaborators and I have done some incredible field work in the Arctic (in Yukon Territory, Alaska, Sweden, Finland and Norway) to sample this species across its range. My work has shown that S. sahlbergi is in fact (very surprisingly!) one population across its entire Holarctic range and there seems to be almost no variation among European and North American populations. Not only do these findings challenge the commonly held belief that large geographic distances lead to greater genetic separation, it also may change how we think about species in the Arctic and how we should develop conservation strategies for them in light of climate change. Currently I am conducting a comparative study in four other northern dragonfly species, to see if they show any similarities with S. sahlbergi in their genetic patterns. Preliminary analysis shows that S. sahlbergi might be the odd one out, but why? Keep watching this space for more updates on this project.