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The effects of selection, drift and genetic variation on life-history trait divergence among insular populations of 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 Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
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.
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2010 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 19, no 11, 2229-2240 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although loss of genetic variation is frequently assumed to be associated with loss of adaptive potential, only few studies have examined adaptation in populations with little genetic variation. On the Swedish west coast, the northern fringe populations of the natterjack toad Bufo calamita inhabit an atypical habitat consisting of offshore rock islands. There are strong among-population differences in the amount of neutral genetic variation, making this system suitable for studies on mechanisms of trait divergence along a gradient of within-population genetic variation. In this study, we examined the mechanisms of population divergence using Q(ST)-F-ST comparisons and correlations between quantitative and neutral genetic variation. Our results suggest drift or weak stabilizing selection across the six populations included in this study, as indicated by low Q(ST)-F-ST values, lack of significant population x temperature interactions and lack of significant differences among the islands in breeding pond size. The six populations included in this study differed in both neutral and quantitative genetic variation. Also, the correlations between neutral and quantitative genetic variation tended to be positive, however, the relatively small number of populations prevents any strong conclusions based on these correlations. Contrary to the majority of Q(ST)-F-ST comparisons, our results suggest drift or weak stabilizing selection across the examined populations. Furthermore, the low heritability of fitness-related traits may limit evolutionary responses in some of the populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 19, no 11, 2229-2240 p.
Keyword [en]
conservation biology, environmental stress, evolutionary change, genetic drift, life-history traits, natural selection
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107343DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04642.xISI: 000277975300005PubMedID: 20465584OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107343DiVA: diva2:228828
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)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2009-09-04 Created: 2009-08-10 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved

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Rogell, BjörnEklund, MartinThörngren, HannaLaurila, AnssiHöglund, Jacob

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