Although rarely assessed, the population genetics of hibernating colonies can help to understand some aspects of population structure, even when samples from nursery or mating colonies are not available, or in studies of migration when both types of samples are available and can be compared. Here we illustrate both points in a survey of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences used to study the population genetics of hibernating colonies of a migrating species, the noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula). Lacking samples from Scandinavian nursery colonies, we use a North European hibernacula to suggest that Scandinavian populations are isolated from Central and East European colonies. Then, we compare genetic diversities of nursery and hibernating colonies. We find a significantly higher haplotype diversity in hibernacula, confirming that they consist of individuals from different nursery colonies. Finally, we show that pairwise comparisons of the haplotype frequencies of nursery and hibernating colonies contain some information on the migration direction of the noctule bat.
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