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Fine scale genetic structure in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) along a rural-to-urban gradient


Yannic, G; Helfer, V; Sermier, R; Schmidt, B R; Fumagalli, L (2021). Fine scale genetic structure in fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) along a rural-to-urban gradient. Conservation Genetics, 22(2):275-292.

Abstract

Delineating population boundaries in anthropogenic landscape is of critical importance for domains of biology that are concerned with the ecology, evolution and conservation of species. This remains particularly difficult for species where there is no obvious demarcation of geographical populations and dispersal patterns are poorly known. This is often the case in amphibian species that reproduce in aquatic habitats but live otherwise in terrestrial habitats. Sampling of such species usually occurs in the aquatic habitat (i.e., breeding sites) but these may represent neither genetically nor demographically distinct populations. Here, we analyzed the genetic structure of a stream-breeding species, the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) along a rural-to-urban land use gradient. We used genetic data and Bayesian clustering approaches, which rely on genetic information without assuming predefined populations, to delineate distinctive genetic units along this gradient, and compare genetic diversity between rural and urban areas. The different analytical approaches used partitioned our dataset in slightly different but highly congruent clusters, that included localities which were up to 19 km apart from each other. Genetic breaks occurred at unexpected places while several landscape features reported to act as barriers on gene flow for amphibians did not lead to genetic breaks. Our results emphasize the difficulty to delineate management units in open systems, especially for long-lived species, for which the timespan between the establishment of a barrier and its translation into clear genetic breaks will take longer than in short-lived species.

Abstract

Delineating population boundaries in anthropogenic landscape is of critical importance for domains of biology that are concerned with the ecology, evolution and conservation of species. This remains particularly difficult for species where there is no obvious demarcation of geographical populations and dispersal patterns are poorly known. This is often the case in amphibian species that reproduce in aquatic habitats but live otherwise in terrestrial habitats. Sampling of such species usually occurs in the aquatic habitat (i.e., breeding sites) but these may represent neither genetically nor demographically distinct populations. Here, we analyzed the genetic structure of a stream-breeding species, the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) along a rural-to-urban land use gradient. We used genetic data and Bayesian clustering approaches, which rely on genetic information without assuming predefined populations, to delineate distinctive genetic units along this gradient, and compare genetic diversity between rural and urban areas. The different analytical approaches used partitioned our dataset in slightly different but highly congruent clusters, that included localities which were up to 19 km apart from each other. Genetic breaks occurred at unexpected places while several landscape features reported to act as barriers on gene flow for amphibians did not lead to genetic breaks. Our results emphasize the difficulty to delineate management units in open systems, especially for long-lived species, for which the timespan between the establishment of a barrier and its translation into clear genetic breaks will take longer than in short-lived species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Genetics
Uncontrolled Keywords:amphibian, salamander, spatial genetic structure
Language:English
Date:1 April 2021
Deposited On:18 Mar 2021 06:33
Last Modified:25 May 2024 01:50
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1566-0621
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-021-01335-4