The evolutionary and ecological importance of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity is widely recognized. Nevertheless, genetic diversity is rarely assessed for conservation planning, which often implicitly assumes a positive correlation between species and genetic diversity. Multiple drivers can cause the co-variation between the genetic diversity of one species and the richness of the whole communities, and explicit tests are needed to identify the processes that can determine species-genetic diversity correlations (SGDCs). Here, we tested whether intrapopulation genetic diversity (at neutral loci) and species richness co-vary in the amphibian communities of a southern Alpine region (Trentino, Italy), using the common frog (Rana temporaria) as focal species for the study of genetic diversity. We also analysed ecological similarity, niche overlap and interspecific interactions between the species, to unravel the processes determining SGDC. The neutral genetic diversity of common frogs was negatively related to species richness. The negative SGDC was probably due to an opposite influence of environmental gradients on the two levels of biodiversity, since the focal species and the other amphibians differ in ecological preferences, particularly in terms of thermal optimum. Conversely, we did not find evidence for a role of interspecific interactions in the negative SGDC. Our findings stress that species richness cannot be used as a universal proxy for genetic diversity, and only combining SGDC with analyses on the determinants of biodiversity can allow to identify the processes determining the relationships between genetic and species diversity.

Deciphering the drivers of negative species-genetic diversity correlation in Alpine amphibians / A. Marchesini, C. Vernesi, A. Battisti, G.F. Ficetola. - In: MOLECULAR ECOLOGY. - ISSN 0962-1083. - 27:23(2018 Dec), pp. 4916-4930. [10.1111/mec.14902]

Deciphering the drivers of negative species-genetic diversity correlation in Alpine amphibians

G.F. Ficetola
2018-12

Abstract

The evolutionary and ecological importance of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity is widely recognized. Nevertheless, genetic diversity is rarely assessed for conservation planning, which often implicitly assumes a positive correlation between species and genetic diversity. Multiple drivers can cause the co-variation between the genetic diversity of one species and the richness of the whole communities, and explicit tests are needed to identify the processes that can determine species-genetic diversity correlations (SGDCs). Here, we tested whether intrapopulation genetic diversity (at neutral loci) and species richness co-vary in the amphibian communities of a southern Alpine region (Trentino, Italy), using the common frog (Rana temporaria) as focal species for the study of genetic diversity. We also analysed ecological similarity, niche overlap and interspecific interactions between the species, to unravel the processes determining SGDC. The neutral genetic diversity of common frogs was negatively related to species richness. The negative SGDC was probably due to an opposite influence of environmental gradients on the two levels of biodiversity, since the focal species and the other amphibians differ in ecological preferences, particularly in terms of thermal optimum. Conversely, we did not find evidence for a role of interspecific interactions in the negative SGDC. Our findings stress that species richness cannot be used as a universal proxy for genetic diversity, and only combining SGDC with analyses on the determinants of biodiversity can allow to identify the processes determining the relationships between genetic and species diversity.
Rana temporaria; biodiversity conservation; habitat suitability models; microsatellites; niche similarity; structural equation modelling
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/612375
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