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The interaction of multiple environmental stressors affects adaptation to a novel habitat in the natterjack toad Bufo calamita
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5553-2691
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1010-061X, E-ISSN 1420-9101, Vol. 22, no 11, 2267-2277 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The potential to adapt to novel environmental conditions is a key area of interest for evolutionary biology. However, the role of multiple selection pressures on adaptive responses has rarely been investigated in natural populations. In Sweden, the natterjack toad Bufo calamita inhabits two separate distribution areas, one in southernmost Sweden and one on the west coast. We characterized the larval habitat in terms of pond size and salinity in the two areas, and found that the breeding ponds of the western populations run higher desiccation risk and had higher salinity than the ponds used by the southern populations. In a common garden experiment manipulating salinity and temperature, we found that toads from the west coast populations were locally adapted to shorter pond duration as indicated by their higher development and growth rates. However, despite being subjected to higher salinity stress in nature, west coast toads had a poorer performance in saline treatments. We found that survival in the saline treatments in the west coast populations was positively affected by larger body mass and longer larval period. Furthermore, we found negative genetic correlations between body mass and growth rate and their non-adaptive plastic responses to salinity. These results implicate that the occurrence of multiple environmental stressors needs to be accounted for when assessing the adaptive potential of organisms and suggest that genetic correlations may play a role in constraining adaptation of natural populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 22, no 11, 2267-2277 p.
Keyword [en]
Trade-offs, genetic correlations, evolutionary change, natural selection, life-history traits
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107340DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01842.xISI: 000271049500013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107340DiVA: diva2:228825
Available from: 2009-08-06 Created: 2009-08-06 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Genetic variation and local adaptation in peripheral populations of toads
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic variation and local adaptation in peripheral populations of toads
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Northern fringe populations generally have low amounts of genetic variation and inhabit habitats where specific adaptations are needed. On the Swedish west coast, the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) inhabits skerry islands. I have examined: I) adaptation to two environmental stressors in this habitat; II) the genetic population structure within the skerry habitat; III) the effects of neutral genetic variation, selection and genetic drift on trait divergence within the skerry habitat; and IV) the effects of genetic variation on fitness under three thermal conditions of varying stressfulness. V) I have also studied the impact of putative local adaptations on the Scandinavian green toad (Bufo viridis) conservation programme. The results suggest that the skerry natterjack toads are locally adapted to the desiccation risk in their habitat. However, despite inhabiting a more saline habitat, they had a lower salinity tolerance when compared to their conspecifics in the more general habitat. The lowered salinity tolerance is most likely explained by the presence of negative genetic correlations between salinity tolerance and desiccation avoidance and suggests that the occurrence of multiple environmental stressors may constrain adaptation. Within the skerry habitat, the toads exhibited a strong population structure with populations differing in their levels of genetic variation. Moreover, within the skerry habitat, the results suggest uniform selection pressures. However, correlations between trait values and neutral genetic variation suggest that inbreeding depression may affect trait values and thus potentially constrain adaptation. In the natterjack toad, fitness costs associated with lack of genetic variation were only present under benign conditions and not under more natural conditions. This suggests that environmental stress masks inbreeding depression in these traits under natural conditions. In the study regarding the Scandinavian green toads, I found that one population inhabiting a saline habitat had a higher salinity tolerance than other populations in less saline habitats. This suggests the presence of local adaptation, which should be acknowledged in the green toad conservation programme. Several of the northern fringe populations of toads fulfill the criteria of being Evolutionary Significant Units and their conservation thus should be prioritized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2009. 65 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 662
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107395 (URN)978-91-554-7580-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-09-25, Friessalen, Norbyvägen 18A, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-09-04 Created: 2009-08-10 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Rogell, BjörnEklund, MartinLaurila, AnssiHöglund, Jacob

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