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See detailGenetic structure of lake and stream populations in a Pyrenean amphibian (Calotriton asper) reveals evolutionary significant units associated with paedomorphosis
Oromi Farrús, Neus ULiege; Valbuena-Ureña, Emilio; Soler-Membrives, Anna et al

in Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research (2019), 57(2), 418-430

Differences in environmental conditions such as those between lakes and streams can produce phenotypic variation and ultimately promote evolutionary diversification. Some species of newts and salamanders ... [more ▼]

Differences in environmental conditions such as those between lakes and streams can produce phenotypic variation and ultimately promote evolutionary diversification. Some species of newts and salamanders can occupy these habitats and express alternative phenotypes: metamorphs that lose gills at metamorphosis and paedomorphs that retain them at the adult stage. Whereas this process is facultative in some species, it is obligatory in others, thus suggesting that isolation and environmental pressures may have canalized developmental pathways. In this study, we focused our research on the Pyrenean brook newt, Calotriton asper which is present in both lakes and streams, but whose fully aquatic paedomorphic individuals are only present in lakes. We aimed to determine the genetic structure and differentiation of two paedomorphic populations, including their surrounding stream and lake metamorphic populations, to test whether populations of paedomorphs can constitute evolutionary significant units. Although gene flow was identified between lakes and nearby stream populations, there was a low percentage of dispersers, and the paedomorphic populations were genetically differentiated from the populations of metamorphs. It is likely that the studied lakes have offered peculiar conditions that have allowed the development of a paedomorphic phenotype. These populations and phenotypes therefore constitute good models to understand local adaptations. As each of these populations of paedomorphs can be considered evolutionary significant units that cannot be replaced by other nearby populations in case of a population crash, conservation actions should be focused directly on them. [less ▲]

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See detailJailed in the mountains: Genetic diversity and structure of an endemic newt species across the Pyrenees
Valbuena-Ureña, Emilio; Oromi Farrús, Neus ULiege; Soler-Membrives, Anna et al

in PLoS ONE (2018), 13(8), 0200214

The Pyrenees represent a natural laboratory for biogeographic, evolutionary and ecological research of mountain fauna as a result of the high variety of habitats and the profound effect of the glacial and ... [more ▼]

The Pyrenees represent a natural laboratory for biogeographic, evolutionary and ecological research of mountain fauna as a result of the high variety of habitats and the profound effect of the glacial and interglacial periods. There is a paucity of studies providing a detailed insight into genetic processes and better knowledge on the patterns of genetic diversity and how they are maintained under high altitude conditions. This is of particular interest when considering the course of past climate conditions and glaciations in a species which is considered site tenacious, with long generation times. Here we analyzed the genetic patterns of diversity and structure of the endemic Pyrenean brook newt (Calotriton asper) along its distribution range, with special emphasis on the distinct habitat types (caves, streams, and lakes), and the altitudinal and geographical ranges, using a total set of 900 individuals from 44 different localities across the Pyrenean mountain range genotyped for 19 microsatellite loci. We found evidence for a negative longitudinal and positive altitudinal gradient of genetic diversity in C. asper populations. The fact that genetic diversity was markedly higher westwards is in accordance with other Pyrenean species. However, the impact of altitudinal gradient on the genetic diversity seems to differ from other species, and mostly from other amphibians. We found that lower altitudes can act as a barrier probably because the lowlands do not provide a suitable habitat for C. asper. Regarding the distinct habitat types, caves had significantly lower values of genetic diversity compared to streams or lakes. The mean FST value was relatively high (0.304) with maximum values as high as 0.771, suggesting a highly structured total population. Indeed, populations were grouped into five subclusters, the eastern populations (cluster 1) remained grouped into two subclusters and the central-western Pyrenees (cluster 2) into three subclusters. The increase of isolation with geographical distance is consistent with the population structure detected. In conclusion, C. asper seems to be adapted to high altitude mountain habitats, and its genetic diversity is higher in the western Pyrenees. In terms of conservation priority, we consider more relevant the populations that represent a reservoir of genetic diversity. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic diversity and structure patterns of the Pyrenean brook newt (Calotriton asper)
Valbuena-Ureña, Emilio; Soler-Membrives, Anna; Oromi Farrús, Neus ULiege et al

Conference (2017, May 15)

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