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Genetic structure in peripheral populations of the natterjack toad, Bufo calamita, as revealed by AFLP
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 Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
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2010 (English)In: Conservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621, E-ISSN 1572-9737, Vol. 11, no 1, 173-181 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Decreased fitness due to loss of genetic variation is a well recognised issue in conservation biology. Along the Swedish west coast, the endangered natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) occurs on, for the species, highly unusual habitat of rocky islands. Although the toads inhabit a restricted geographical area (maximum distance between the populations is 71 km), the fragmented nature of the landscape makes the genetic properties of the populations of conservation interest. However, lack of genetic variation found using conventional methods (microsatellites) has impeded genetic studies within these peripheral populations so far. In this study we assess population structure and genetic variation among seven of these fringe populations using 105 polymorphic Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) loci. We found a well-defined population structure without evidence for isolation by distance, implying restricted gene flow between populations. Additionally, the populations differed in their amount of genetic variation, emphasizing the need to monitor genetically impoverished populations for possible declines mediated by inbreeding depression and reduced adaptive potential. Conservation implications for these unique populations are discussed in the light of our results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 11, no 1, 173-181 p.
Keyword [en]
AFLP, genetic structure, peripheral populations, genetic diversity, amphibians
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107341DOI: 10.1007/s10592-009-0021-zISI: 000273744300015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107341DiVA: diva2:228826
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, BjörnThörngren, HannaPalm, StefanLaurila, AnssiHöglund, Jacob

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