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  Subjects -> CONSERVATION (Total: 128 journals)
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Conservation Genetics
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.924
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 23  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1572-9737 - ISSN (Online) 1566-0621
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2469 journals]
  • Genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure support the
           specialist-generalist variation hypothesis in two sympatric woodpecker
           species

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      Abstract: Abstract Species are often arranged along a continuum from “specialists” to “generalists”. Specialists typically use fewer resources, occur in more patchily distributed habitats and have overall smaller population sizes than generalists. Accordingly, the specialist-generalist variation hypothesis (SGVH) proposes that populations of habitat specialists have lower genetic diversity and are genetically more differentiated due to reduced gene flow compared to populations of generalists. Here, expectations of the SGVH were tested by examining genetic diversity, spatial genetic structure and contemporary gene flow in two sympatric woodpecker species differing in habitat specialization. Compared to the generalist great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), lower genetic diversity was found in the specialist middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius). Evidence for recent bottlenecks was revealed in some populations of the middle spotted woodpecker, but in none of the great spotted woodpecker. Substantial spatial genetic structure and a significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances were found in the middle spotted woodpecker, but only weak spatial genetic structure and no significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances in the great spotted woodpecker. Finally, estimated levels of contemporary gene flow did not differ between the two species. Results are consistent with all but one expectations of the SGVH. This study adds to the relatively few investigations addressing the SGVH in terrestrial vertebrates.
      PubDate: 2022-06-13
       
  • Global distribution of cryptic native, introduced and hybrid lineages in
           the widespread estuarine amphipod Ampithoe valida

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      Abstract: Abstract Biological invasions can pose a severe threat to coastal ecosystems, but are difficult to track due to inaccurate species identifications and cryptic diversity. Here, we clarified the cryptic diversity and introduction history of the marine amphipod Ampithoe valida by sequencing a mtDNA locus from 683 individuals and genotyping 10,295 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for 349 individuals from Japan, North America and Argentina. The species complex consists of three cryptic lineages: two native Pacific and one native Atlantic mitochondrial lineage. It is likely that the complex originated in the North Pacific and dispersed to the north Atlantic via a trans-arctic exchange approximately 3 MYA. Non-native A. valida in Argentina have both Atlantic mitochondrial and nuclear genotypes, strongly indicating an introduction from eastern North America. In two eastern Pacific estuaries, San Francisco Bay and Humboldt Bay, California, genetic data indicate human-mediated hybridization of Atlantic and Pacific sources, and possible adaptive introgression of mitochondrial loci, nuclear loci, or both. The San Francisco Bay hybrid population periodically undergoes population outbreaks and profoundly damages eelgrass Zostera marina thalli via direct consumption, and these ecological impacts have not been documented elsewhere. We speculate that novel combinations of Atlantic and Pacific lineages could play a role in A. valida’s unique ecology in San Francisco Bay. Our results reinforce the notion that we can over-estimate the number of non-native invasions when there is cryptic native structure. Moreover, inference of demographic and evolutionary history from mitochondrial loci may be misleading without simultaneous survey of the nuclear genome.
      PubDate: 2022-06-11
       
  • Genetic differentiation of a critically endangered population of the
           limpet Patella candei candei d’Orbigny, 1840, in the Canary Islands

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      Abstract: Abstract The adoption of measures to protect the viability of threatened populations should be supported by empirical data identifying appropriate conservation units and management strategies. The global population of the majorera limpet, P. candei candei d’Orbigny, 1840, is restricted to the Macaronesian islands in the NE Atlantic, including near-to-extinct and healthy populations in Fuerteventura and Selvagens, respectively. The taxonomic position, genetic diversity and intra- and interspecific relationships of these populations are unclear, which is hindering the implementation of a recovery plan for the overexploited majorera limpet on Fuerteventura. In this study, ddRAD-based genome scanning was used to overcome the limitations of mitochondrial DNA-based analysis. As a result, P. candei candei was genetically differentiated from the closely related P. candei crenata for the first time. Moreover, genetic differentiation was detected between P. candei candei samples from Selvagens and Fuerteventura, indicating that translocations from the healthy Selvagens source population are inadvisable. In conclusion, the majorera limpet requires population-specific management focused on the preservation of exceptional genetic diversity with which to face future environmental challenges.
      PubDate: 2022-06-11
       
  • Genomics facilitates evaluation and monitoring of McCloud River Redband
           Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei)

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      Abstract: Abstract The McCloud River Redband Trout (MRRT; Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei) is a unique subspecies of rainbow trout that inhabits the isolated Upper McCloud River of Northern California. A major threat to MRRT is introgressive hybridization with non-native rainbow trout from historical stocking and contemporary unauthorized introductions. To help address this concern, we collected RAD-sequencing data on 308 total individuals from MRRT and other California O. mykiss populations and examined population structure using Principal Component and admixture analyses. Our results are consistent with previous studies; we found that populations of MRRT in Sheepheaven, Swamp, Edson, and Moosehead creeks are nonintrogressed. Additionally, we saw no evidence of introgression in Dry Creek, and suggest further investigation to determine if it can be considered a core MRRT conservation population. Sheepheaven Creek was previously thought to be the sole historical lineage of MRRT, but our analysis identified three: Sheepheaven, Edson, and Dry creeks, all of which should be preserved. Finally, we discovered diagnostic and polymorphic SNP markers for monitoring introgression and genetic diversity in MRRT. Collectively, our results provide a valuable resource for the conservation and management of MRRT.
      PubDate: 2022-06-09
       
  • Landscape genetics of an endangered salt marsh endemic: Identifying
           population continuity and barriers to dispersal

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      Abstract: Abstract Preserving the genetic diversity of endangered species is fundamental to their conservation and requires an understanding of genetic structure. In turn, identification of landscape features that impede gene flow can facilitate management to mitigate such obstacles and help with identifying isolated populations. We conducted a landscape genetic study of the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris), a species endemic to the coastal marshes of the San Francisco Estuary of California. We collected and genotyped > 500 samples from across the marshes of Suisun Bay which contain the largest remaining tracts of habitat for the species. Cluster analyses and a population tree identified three geographically discrete populations. Next, we conducted landscape genetic analyses at two scales (the entire study area and across the Northern Marshes) where we tested 65 univariate models of landscape features and used the best supported to test multivariable analyses. Our analysis of the entire study area indicated that open water and elevation (> 2 m) constrained gene flow. Analysis of the Northern Marshes, where low elevation marsh habitat is more continuous, indicated that geographic distance was the only significant predictor of genetic distance at this scale. The identification of a large, connected population across Northern Marshes achieves a number of recovery targets for this stronghold of the species. The identification of landscape features that act as barriers to dispersal enables the identification of isolated and vulnerable populations more broadly across the species range, thus aiding conservation prioritization.
      PubDate: 2022-06-07
       
  • Genetic diversity and structure of an endangered medicinal plant species
           (Pilocarpus microphyllus) in eastern Amazon: implications for conservation
           

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      Abstract: Abstract Few studies have evaluated the genetic status of medicinal plants exposed to commercial harvesting. Here, we examine the genetic variability of Pilocarpus microphyllus, an endemic and threatened medicinal plant species from the eastern Amazon, across its largest remaining wild population. Popularly known as jaborandi, species of Pilocarpus genus are the unique known natural source of pilocarpine, an alkaloid used to treat glaucoma and xerostomia. However, Populations of P. microphyllus has experienced a severe decline in the last decades. Using RAD sequencing, we identified a total of 5,266 neutral and independent SNPs in 277 individuals collected from the Carajás National Forest (CNF). We quantified genetic diversity and gene flow patterns and estimated the minimum number of individuals necessary to establish a germplasm bank. Our results revealed high genetic diversity and four spatially distinct clusters of P. microphyllus with substantial admixture among them. Geographic distance and temperature dissimilarity were the factors that best explained the relatedness patterns among individuals. Additionally, our findings indicate that at least 40 matrices sampled randomly from each population would be required to conserve genetic diversity in the long term. In short, P. microphyllus showed high levels of genetic diversity and an effective population size (NE) sufficient to reduce the likelihood of extinction due to inbreeding depression. Our results indicate that diversity has been maintained despite the continuous harvesting of raw leaf material in the area over recent decades. Finally, the results provide information essential for the design of a germplasm bank to protect the endangered medicinal plant species.
      PubDate: 2022-06-04
       
  • Conservation genomics of an Australian cycad Cycas calcicola, and the
           Absence of Key Genotypes in Botanic Gardens

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      Abstract: Abstract Understanding the genetic diversity of wild populations is fundamental to conserving species in-situ and ex-situ. To aid conservation plans and to inform ex-situ conservation, we examined the genetic diversity of the cycad Cycas calcicola (Cycadaceae). Samples were collected from wild populations in the Litchfield National Park and Katherine regions in the Northern Territory, Australia. Additional samples were obtained from botanic garden plants that were originally collected in the Katherine region, Daly River and Spirit Hills in the Northern Territory, Australia. Using RADseq we recovered 2271 informative genome-wide SNPs, revealing low to moderate levels of gene diversity (uHe = 0.037 to 0.135), very low levels of gene flow, and significant levels of inbreeding (mean FIS = 0.491). Population structure and multivariate analysis showed that populations fall into two genetic groups (Katherine vs Litchfield + Daly River + Spirit Hills). Genetic differentiation was twice as high between populations of the Katherine and Litchfield regions (FST ~ 0.1) compared to within these two regions (FST ~ 0.05). Increasing population fragmentation together with high levels of inbreeding and very little gene flow are concerning for the future adaptability of this species. The results indicated that the ex-situ collections (1) had significantly lower genetic diversity than the wild populations, and (2) only partly capture the genetic diversity present, particularly because the Litchfield National Park populations are not represented. We recommend that ex-situ collections be expanded to incorporate the genetic diversity found in Litchfield National Park and to increase the number of representatives from Daly River/Spirit Hills, and that in-situ populations from the Katherine and Greater Litchfield regions be conserved as separate management units.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Genome-wide SNPs detect fine-scale genetic structure in threatened
           populations of squirrel glider Petaurus norfolcensis

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      Abstract: Abstract Australian arboreal mammals are experiencing significant population declines, particularly due to land clearing and resulting habitat fragmentation. The squirrel glider, Petaurus norfolcensis, is a threatened species in New South Wales, with a stronghold population in the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area (LGA) where fragmentation due to urbanization is an ongoing problem for the species conservation. Here we report on the use of squirrel glider mitochondrial (385 bp cytochrome b gene, 70 individuals) and nuclear DNA (6,834 SNPs, 87 individuals) markers to assess their population genetic structure and connectivity across 14 locations sampled in the Lake Macquarie LGA. The mitochondrial DNA sequences detected evidence of a historical genetic bottleneck, while the genome-wide SNPs detected significant population structure in the Lake Macquarie squirrel glider populations at scales as fine as one kilometer. There was no evidence of inbreeding within patches, however there were clear effects of habitat fragmentation and biogeographical barriers on gene flow. A least cost path analysis identified thin linear corridors that have high priority for conservation. These areas should be protected to avoid further isolation of squirrel glider populations and the loss of genetic diversity through genetic drift.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Population genetics, demographic and evolutionary history of the
           Dudley’s lousewort (Pedicularis dudleyi), a rare redwood forest
           specialist

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      Abstract: Abstract Pedicularis dudleyi (Dudley’s Lousewort, Orobanchaceae) is an extremely rare plant endemic to the redwood forests of Central California. Until recently, the species was known only from three extant natural populations. However, in 2019, one of those populations was described as a novel species (P. rigginsiae D.J. Keil) based on morphological and ecological data leaving only two populations described as P. dudleyi. While little is known about the past distribution of the species, historical records have led to speculation that the species was once more widespread and may have suffered from habitat destruction as a result of widespread logging during the early twentieth century. We utilized a combination of ddRAD SNP and Sanger sequencing data to: (1) Test the morphological hypothesis that P. rigginsiae is distinct from P. dudleyi; (2) Describe the genetic diversity and population structure of P. dudleyi and; (3) Test the hypothesis that the species underwent a bottleneck corresponding with increased logging of redwood forests in the early twentieth century. Our results support the recognition of P. rigginsiae as distinct from P. dudleyi, increasing the conservation priority of both species. Genetic diversity statistics and analyses of genetic structure suggest that both populations of P. dudleyi are highly differentiated from each other with one population exhibiting unexpected substructure. Finally, demographic modeling supports a scenario where the contemporary rarity of the species is explained by a recent bottleneck.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • A genomic perspective on the conservation status of the endangered
           Nashville crayfish (Faxonius shoupi)

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      Abstract: Abstract The Nashville crayfish (Faxonius shoupi, Hobbs 1948) was federally listed as an endangered species in 1986 due to its limited distribution in the Mill Creek watershed; this waterway lies in the rapidly developing Nashville basin and has experienced habitat degradation due to agricultural run-off, contamination, and urban development. Recovery efforts, including dam removal and restoration of riparian zones, have improved conditions in Mill Creek and F. shoupi has increased in numbers and recolonized extirpated stream segments. However, a history of demographic bottlenecks and restricted gene flow may have negatively impacted the long-term recovery of this species. A recently discovered population of F. shoupi in a disjunct segment of the Lower Tennessee River at the Pickwick Tailwater may provide an additional source of genetic variation. Uncertainty surrounding the origins of the Pickwick population and its taxonomic relationship to F. shoupi in Mill Creek raises questions about the conservation and management implications of this population. We used mitochondrial sequencing and SNP genotyping to assess genetic variation and connectivity of F. shoupi in the Mill Creek drainage and to investigate the taxonomy and demographic history of the newly discovered population at Pickwick. We found substantial genetic variation and evidence of connectivity for samples throughout Mill Creek for both mitochondrial and genome-wide SNPs. Our results also suggest a recently severed connection between crayfish in Pickwick and Mill Creek. Unique mitochondrial haplotypes and SNP variation in the Pickwick population highlight the need for prioritizing this population in future conservation and management plans for this species.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Population genetics of three at-risk tiger beetles Habroscelimorpha
           dorsalis dorsalis, H. d. media, and Ellipsoptera puritana

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      Abstract: Abstract Many tiger beetles (Family Cicindelidae) are critically imperiled due to their dependence on small patches of suitable habitat that are frequently threatened by natural and anthropogenic disturbances. In the eastern United States, conservation of three tiger beetles - Habroscelimorpha dorsalis dorsalis, H. dorsalis media, and Ellipsoptera puritana - has been inhibited by the absence of population genetic information that is needed for effective recovery planning and potential reintroductions. Using microsatellite panels, we performed population genetic analyses and compared patterns in diversity and differentiation within and between taxa. Nearly all collections of the three taxa had less observed heterozygosity than expected under Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, and there was a strong latitudinal gradient in genetic diversity in H. d. dorsalis distributed along the eastern and western shores of the Chesapeake Bay. We also found clear spatial patterns of genetic differentiation which reflected strong isolation-by-distance within all three taxa and between collections of H. d. dorsalis and H. d. media. However, there was evidence of admixture in current (mouth of the Chesapeake Bay) and former (coastal New Jersey) contact zones of H. d. dorsalis and H. d. media. Taken together, our study suggests that relatively few adult tiger beetles may maintain many populations, and that gene flow among nearby habitat patches is common in all three taxa – a characteristic that may help tiger beetles persist in dynamic coastal environments. Results of our analyses can be used to support conservation and management by identifying the spatial scale of metapopulation connectivity and locating populations at the greatest risk of extirpation.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Speciation with gene flow in a narrow endemic West Virginia cave
           salamander (Gyrinophilus subterraneus)

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      Abstract: Abstract Due to their limited geographic distributions and specialized ecologies, cave species are often highly endemic and can be especially vulnerable to habitat degradation within and surrounding the cave systems they inhabit. We investigated the evolutionary history of the West Virginia Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus subterraneus), estimated the population trend from historic and current survey data, and assessed the current potential for water quality threats to the cave habitat. Our genomic data (mtDNA sequence and ddRADseq-derived SNPs) reveal two, distinct evolutionary lineages within General Davis Cave corresponding to G. subterraneus and its widely distributed sister species, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus, that are also differentiable based on morphological traits. Genomic models of evolutionary history strongly support asymmetric and continuous gene flow between the two lineages, and hybrid classification analyses identify only parental and first generation cross (F1) progeny. Collectively, these results point to a rare case of sympatric speciation occurring within the cave, leading to strong support for continuing to recognize G. subterraneus as a distinct and unique species. Due to its specialized habitat requirements, the complete distribution of G. subterraneus is unresolved, but using survey data in its type locality (and currently the only known occupied site), we find that the population within General Davis Cave has possibly declined over the last 45 years. Finally, our measures of cave and surface stream water quality did not reveal evidence of water quality impairment and provide important baselines for future monitoring. In addition, our unexpected finding of a hybrid zone and partial reproductive isolation between G. subterraneus and G. porphyriticus warrants further attention to better understand the evolutionary and conservation implications of occasional hybridization between the species.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Genetic recruitment patterns are patchy and spatiotemporally unpredictable
           in a deep-water snapper (Lutjanus vivanus) sampled in fished and protected
           areas of western Puerto Rico

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      Abstract: Abstract Marine protected areas (MPAs) have the potential to conserve biodiversity and improve fishery sustainability, but their efficacy depends on sound design and implementation, which requires an understanding of connectivity among reserves and between reserves and fished areas. Most studies of connectivity involving reserves focus on fishes with characteristics atypical for exploited species, making the results less applicable to fisheries management. Here, patterns of genomic diversity were assessed within and among geographic samples of juvenile of silk snapper, Lutjanus vivanus, collected in protected and fished areas on the western coast of Puerto Rico. The results indicate significant variation in spatiotemporal genetic recruitment patterns, with the two MPAs located off the shelf having partially decoupled recruitment processes from sites on the shelf. Spatial autocorrelation was found at distances less than 20 km within years, but the degree and pattern of spatial structure differed across years, suggesting that recruitment along the west coast of Puerto Rico originates from semi-independent units of spawners whose contribution varies in space and time. The results suggest that while MPAs may work to supplement fisheries where recruitment is spatiotemporally predictable, in species for which adult contribution is variable in space and time, other management strategies should be explored as well.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Exploring the effect of 195 years-old locks on species movement:
           landscape genetics of painted turtles in the Rideau Canal, Canada

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      Abstract: Abstract Aquatic systems have been extensively altered by human structures (e.g., construction of dams/canals) and these have major impacts on the connectivity of wildlife populations through the loss and isolation of suitable habitats. Habitat loss and isolation affect gene flow and influence the persistence of populations in time and space by restricting movements. Isolation can result in higher inbreeding, lower genetic diversity, and greater genetic structure, which may render populations more vulnerable to environmental changes, and thus to extinction. Given the ubiquity and the persistence of dams and canals in space and time, it is crucial to understand their effects on the population genetics of aquatic species. Here, we documented the genetic diversity and structure of painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) populations in the Rideau Canal, Ontario, Canada. More specifically, we used 13 microsatellites to evaluate the influence of locks on genetic variation in 822 painted turtles from 22 sites evenly distributed along the 202-km canal. Overall, we found low, but significant, genetic differentiation suggesting that some dispersal is occurring throughout the canal. In addition, we showed that locks contribute to the genetic differentiation observed in the system. Clustering analysis revealed two distinct genetic groups whose boundary is associated with a series of six locks. Our results illustrate how artificial waterways, such as canal systems, can influence population genetic structure. We highlight the importance of adopting management plans that can mitigate the impacts of human infrastructure and preserve gene flow across the landscape to maintain viable populations.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Selection and localised genetic structure in the threatened Manauense
           Harlequin Frog (Bufonidae: Atelopus manauensis)

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      Abstract: Abstract Knowledge of genome-wide variation and the processes influencing gene flow are critical to managing threatened species. Here, we characterise genetic diversity and the environmental features associated with connectivity for a narrowly distributed and threatened Amazonian frog, Atelopus manauensis. We sampled 94 individuals throughout the upper, middle and lower courses from each of the five major rivers covering the species’ known geographic range and genotyped each individual at 3859 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genetic variation was significantly subdivided into six groups, each mostly containing individuals sampled within the same major river system. The genetic distances among these groups increased with geographic distance, and open forests and the extremities of the altitude gradient were associated with less genetic connectivity. Using FST outlier approaches and environmental association analyses, we identified SNPs indicative of localised adaptation, with 28 SNPs significantly associated with forest biomass and altitude. Evidence of divergent selection among the six genetic clusters suggests the presence of six Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs). Overall, the ESUs were characterized by low contemporary effective population sizes (NE < 100) suggesting that genetic variation will be lost by random genetic drift. We demonstrate surprisingly high levels of divergence across the limited distribution of A. manauensis and suggest that each of the six adaptively divergent lineages be considered in conservation planning.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Landscape genetic connectivity in European wildcat (Felis silvestris
           silvestris): a matter of food, shelters and demographic status of
           populations

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      Abstract: Abstract Understanding landscape impacts on gene flow is necessary to plan comprehensive management and conservation strategies of both the species of interest and its habitat. Nevertheless, only a few studies have focused on the landscape genetic connectivity of the European wildcat, an umbrella species whose conservation allows the preservation of numerous other species and habitat types. We applied population and landscape genetics approaches, using genotypes at 30 microsatellites from 232 genetically-identified wildcats to determine if, and how, landscape impacted gene flow throughout France. Analyses were performed independently within two population patches: the historical north-eastern patch and the central patch considered as the colonization front. Our results showed that gene flow occurred at large spatial scales but also revealed significant spatial genetic structures within population patches. In both population patches, arable areas, pastures and permanent grasslands and lowly fragmented forested areas were permeable to gene flow, suggesting that shelters and dietary resources are among the most important parameters for French wildcat landscape connectivity, while distance to forest had no detectable effect. Anthropized areas appeared highly resistant in the north-eastern patch but highly permeable in the central patch, suggesting that different behaviours can be observed according to the demographic context in which populations are found. In line with this hypothesis, spatial distribution of genetic variability seemed uneven in the north-eastern patch and more clinal in the central patch. Overall, our results highlighted that European wildcat might be a habitat generalist species and also the importance of performing spatial replication in landscape genetics studies.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • The Balkan chamois, an archipelago or a peninsula' Insights from
           nuclear and mitochondrial DNA

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      Abstract: Abstract The Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is widespread on the Balkan Peninsula, along mountain massifs from Croatia in the north to Greece in the south and Bulgaria in the east. Knowledge on the genetic structure of Balkan chamois populations is limited and restricted to local studies. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to use nuclear (16 microsatellites) and mitochondrial (partial 376 base pairs control region) markers to investigate the genetic structure of this chamois subspecies throughout its distribution range and to obtain information on the degree of connectivity of the different (sub)populations. We extracted DNA from bone, dried skin and muscle tissue and successfully genotyped 92 individuals of Balkan chamois and sequenced the partial control region in 44 individuals. The Bayesian analysis suggested 3 genetic clusters and assigned individuals from Serbia and Bulgaria to two separate clusters, while individuals from the other countries belonged to the same cluster. Thirty new haplotypes were obtained from partial mitochondrial DNA sequences, with private haplotypes in all analyzed populations and only two haplotypes shared among populations, indicating the possibility of past translocations. The subspecies genetic composition presented here provides the necessary starting point to assess the conservation status of the Balkan chamois and allows the development of conservation strategies necessary for its sustainable management and conservation.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Genetic variation in lowland and mountain populations of Tofieldia
           calyculata and their ability to survive within low levels of genetic
           diversity

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      Abstract: Abstract Loss of genetic diversity is expected to be a reason behind the decline of populations of many rare species. To what extent this is true for populations at the range periphery remains to be explored. Alpine species with peripheral lowland populations are an ideal but little-known model system to address this issue. We used 17 microsatellite markers to investigate the genetic diversity and structure of populations of Tofieldia calyculata, a common species in central European mountains, but highly endangered in lowlands. We showed that lowland populations have lower genetic diversity than mountain populations and that the two groups of populations are not clearly differentiated genetically. The species probably survived the last glaciation in refugia in the margins of the Alps and the western Carpathians and some lowland populations likely originated by postglacial colonisation. Some lowland populations may be relictual, but our data did not unequivocally confirm this. Low genetic diversity of lowland populations is likely the result of the reduction of population sizes, limited gene flow, and selfing. Based on data from herbarium specimens from extinct lowland populations, within-population genetic diversity has not changed over the last century suggesting that, under suitable habitat conditions, these populations are able to survive with low levels of genetic diversity. This idea is also supported by the presence of large viable extant populations with very low genetic diversity. Comparisons between modern and historic collection also showed that a large proportion of genetic diversity was lost, due mainly to the extinction of whole populations. Our results provided detailed insight into the recent past of the populations of Tofieldia calyculata, but the genetic diversity of the populations before the twentieth century remains unknown due to the poor quality of old DNA from herbaria samples. Overall, the study indicates that despite reduced genetic diversity, the lowland populations harbour some unique alleles and, with the current levels of genetic diversity, have a chance to survive in the long-term, and thus deserve conservation.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Strong population genetic structure and cryptic diversity in the Florida
           bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus)

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      Abstract: Abstract Knowledge of the genetic structure and cryptic diversity is essential for the conservation of endangered species. We conducted a genetic survey of the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) sampled from its USA range in southern Florida. Florida bonneted bats are primarily found in four regions separated by approximately 100 to 250 km, including three western natural areas: Babcock Webb WMA (BW), Polk County (PC), and Collier County (CC) and one urban population on the east coast, Miami-Dade County (MD). We used 22 microsatellite loci and cytochrome b sequences to assess the extent of connectivity and levels of genetic diversity. Populations were highly differentiated at microsatellite loci (overall FST = 0.178) and model-based and ordination analyses showed that MD was the most distinct among pairwise comparisons. Regional populations were small (Ne < 100) with no evidence of inbreeding. Contemporary migration and historic gene flow suggested that regional populations have not frequently exchanged migrants, and thus the divergence among western regions was likely a result of genetic drift. Significantly, mitochondrial DNA revealed that haplotypes from MD were similar or shared with those recognized as Eumops ferox from Cuba and Jamaica, and divergent (1.5%) from the remainder of bonneted bats in Florida. Our data support the management of each of the four populations as distinct population segments, and that BW, PC and CC combined are on an independent evolutionary trajectory from bats in MD. Bonneted bats in Florida appear to harbor cryptic diversity that will require a reassessment of their taxonomy.
      PubDate: 2022-06-01
       
  • Inbreeding is associated with shorter early-life telomere length in a wild
           passerine

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      Abstract: Abstract Inbreeding can have negative effects on survival and reproduction, which may be of conservation concern in small and isolated populations. However, the physiological mechanisms underlying inbreeding depression are not well-known. The length of telomeres, the DNA sequences protecting chromosome ends, has been associated with health or fitness in several species. We investigated effects of inbreeding on early-life telomere length in two small island populations of wild house sparrows (Passer domesticus) known to be affected by inbreeding depression. Using genomic measures of inbreeding we found that inbred nestling house sparrows (n = 371) have significantly shorter telomeres. Using pedigree-based estimates of inbreeding we found a tendency for inbred nestling house sparrows to have shorter telomeres (n = 1195). This negative effect of inbreeding on telomere length may have been complemented by a heterosis effect resulting in longer telomeres in individuals that were less inbred than the population average. Furthermore, we found some evidence of stronger effects of inbreeding on telomere length in males than females. Thus, telomere length may reveal subtle costs of inbreeding in the wild and demonstrate a route by which inbreeding negatively impacts the physiological state of an organism already at early life-history stages.
      PubDate: 2022-04-10
      DOI: 10.1007/s10592-022-01441-x
       
 
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