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Does habitat fragmentation reduce fitness and adaptability?: A case study of the common frog (Rana temporaria)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
2007 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 16, no 13, 2693-2700 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies examining the effects of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on both neutral and adaptive genetic variability are still scarce. We compared tadpole fitness-related traits (viz. survival probability and body size) among populations of the common frog (Rana temporaria) from fragmented (F) and continuous (C) habitats that differed significantly in population sizes (C > F) and genetic diversity (C > F) in neutral genetic markers. Using data from common garden experiments, we found a significant positive relationship between the mean values of the fitness related traits and the amount of microsatellite variation in a given population. While genetic differentiation in neutral marker loci (F-ST) tended to be more pronounced in the fragmented than in the continuous habitat, genetic differentiation in quantitative traits (Q(ST)) exceeded that in neutral marker traits in the continuous habitat (i.e. Q(ST) > F-ST), but not in the fragmented habitat (i.e. Q(ST) approximate to F-ST). These results suggest that the impact of random genetic drift relative to natural selection was higher in the fragmented landscape where populations were small, and had lower genetic diversity and fitness as compared to populations in the more continuous landscape. The findings highlight the potential importance of habitat fragmentation in impairing future adaptive potential of natural populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 16, no 13, 2693-2700 p.
Keyword [en]
amphibians; fitness; fragmentation; genetic variability; microsatellites; QST
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-92247DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03357.xISI: 000247561800010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-92247DiVA: diva2:165252
Available from: 2004-10-22 Created: 2004-10-22 Last updated: 2011-02-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Effects of Agriculture on Abundance, Genetic Diversity and Fitness in the Common Frog, Rana temporaria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of Agriculture on Abundance, Genetic Diversity and Fitness in the Common Frog, Rana temporaria
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of this thesis were to evaluate the effects of agriculture on amphibians in terms of (i) population genetic consequences of agriculture-induced spatial changes of the landscape and (ii) local adaptation and tolerance to frequently used agrochemicals. The study was performed using the common frog Rana temporaria as a model.

Abundance, occurrence, genetic diversity and gene flow were negatively affected by agriculture in southern Sweden, but unaffected or even positively affected by agriculture in the central and northern regions, respectively. These test parameters correlated positively with landscape diversity both in the south and in the north. Moreover, the size and occurrence of R. temporaria populations decreased towards the north i.e. the margin of the species’ distribution range. In accordance with theoretical expectations, genetic variability decreased and population substructuring increased as a negative function of (effective) population size.

Southern Swedish common frogs are naturally exposed to higher levels of nitrates, and thus have a higher tolerance to high nitrate levels than their northern conspecifics. This suggests local adaptation to naturally varying nitrate levels. Consequently, increased anthropogenic supplementation of nitrate could impact more the northern than the southern Swedish common frog populations. Exposure to the pesticides azoxystrobin, cyanazine and permethrin at ecologically relevant concentrations had small or no effects on R. temporaria tadpoles.

The populations with lowest microsatellite variation (fragmented populations) in southern Sweden had considerably lower fitness in terms of survival and growth as compared to those with the highest genetic variability (non-fragmented populations). The results indicate that populations with low levels of neutral genetic variability were phenotypically less differentiated than populations with higher levels of variability. One possible explanation for this is that the degree of population differentiation in low variability populations has been constrained due to lack of suitable genetic variation or inefficiency of selection relative to genetic drift.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2004. 43 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 1025
Biology, agriculture, agrochemicals, amphibians, effective population size, genetic diversity, genetic structure, hierarchical sampling, microsatellites, Rana temporaria, Biologi
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-4619 (URN)91-554-6060-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-11-12, Zootissalen, Zoologen, Villavägen 9, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala, 14:15 (English)
Available from: 2004-10-22 Created: 2004-10-22 Last updated: 2009-03-31Bibliographically approved

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