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Population divergence of life history traits in the endangered green toad: implications for a support release programme
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, Population and Conservation Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Population and Conservation Biology.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Zoology, ISSN 0952-8369, E-ISSN 1469-7998, Vol. 285, no 1, 46-55 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an increasing awareness that adaptive differences among local populations may affect the success of translocation programmes. A mismatch in habitat quality of the target localities and in the local adaptations of the translocated individuals may reduce the success rate of the translocation programme. The green toad Bufo viridis is the most threatened amphibian in Sweden and has been the focus of an extensive translocation programme of eggs, tadpoles and juvenile toads to several localities with apparently favourable conditions for green toads. However, the success of these measures has been poor. In this study, we investigated the extent of local adaptation in the green toad by examining population divergence and the effect of thermal and saline conditions on larval performance in four Scandinavian populations. In a common garden experiment, we measured larval survival and development as well as the occurrence of spinal deformations. In addition, we quantified pond temperature and water salinity, two important environmental variables for larval performance in anurans in the breeding ponds as well as in seven additional localities included in the conservation programme. We found significant variation among the localities in water temperature and salinity, and significant among-population divergence in larval life history traits and spinal deformations, including both trait means and plastic responses to salinity and temperature. The available evidence suggests that at least part of this divergence is adaptive. We did not find direct support for local adaptation affecting the success of the translocations, however, we argue that the population origin and the impact of rearing conditions on the fitness-related larval traits should be taken into account in the introduction measures of the Swedish green toad conservation programme as well as in translocation programmes in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 285, no 1, 46-55 p.
Keyword [en]
Local adaptation, conservation, peripheral populations, genetic diversity, amphibians
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Population Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107394DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00843.xISI: 000294170500006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107394DiVA: diva2:229036
Available from: 2009-08-10 Created: 2009-08-10 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, BjörnLaurila, AnssiHöglund, Jacob

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