Rejection of the genetic implications of the "Abundant Centre Hypothesis" in marine mussels.
ABSTRACT: The 'Abundant-Centre Hypothesis' is a well-established but controversial hypothesis stating that the abundance of a species is highest at the centre of its range and decreases towards the edges, where conditions are unfavourable. As genetic diversity depends on population size, edge populations are expected to show lower intra-population genetic diversity than core populations, while showing high inter-population genetic divergence. Here, the genetic implications of the Abundant-Centre Hypothesis were tested on two coastal mussels from South Africa that disperse by means of planktonic larvae, the native Perna perna and the invasive Mytilus galloprovincialis. Genetic structure was found within P. perna, which, together with evidence from Lagrangian particle simulations, points to significant reductions in gene flow between sites. Despite this, the expected diversity pattern between centre and edge populations was not found for either species. We conclude that the genetic predictions of the Abundant-Centre Hypothesis are unlikely to be met by high-dispersal species with large population sizes, and may only become evident in species with much lower levels of connectivity.
Project description:Population genetics and phenotypic structures are often predicted to vary along the geographic range of a species. This phenomenon would be accentuated for species with large range areas, with discontinuities and marginal populations. We herein compare the genetic patterns of central populations of Coccinella septempunctata L. with those of two phenotypically differentiated populations considered as rear-edge populations and subspecies based on phenotype (Algeria and Japan). According to the central-marginal model and expected characteristics of rear-edge populations, we hypothesize that these rear-edge populations have (1) a reduced genetic diversity, resulting from their relative isolation over long periods of time, (2) a higher population genetic differentiation, explained by low contemporary gene flow levels, and (3) a relationship between genetic diversity characteristics and phenotypes, due to historical isolation and/or local adaptation. Based on genotyping of 28 populations for 18 microsatellite markers, several levels of regional genetic diversity and differentiation are observed between and within populations, according to their localization: low within-population genetic diversity and higher genetic differentiation of rear-edge populations. The genetic structuring clearly dissociates the Algerian and Eastern Asia populations from the others. Geographical patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation support the hypothesis of the central-marginal model. The pattern observed is in agreement with the phenotypic structure across species range. A clear genetic break between populations of Algeria, the Eastern Asia, and the remaining populations is a dominant feature of the data. Differential local adaptations, absence of gene flow between marginal and central populations, and/or incapacity to mate after colonization, have contributed to their distinct genotypic and phenotypic characteristics.
Project description:Oceanographic features shape the distributional and genetic patterns of marine species by interrupting or promoting connections among populations. Although general patterns commonly arise, distributional ranges and genetic structure are species-specific and do not always comply with the expected trends. By applying a multimarker genetic approach combined with Lagrangian particle simulations (LPS) we tested the hypothesis that oceanographic features along northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean shores influence dispersal potential and genetic structure of the intertidal mussel Perna perna. Additionally, by performing environmental niche modelling we assessed the potential and realized niche of P. perna along its entire native distributional range and the environmental factors that best explain its realized distribution. Perna perna showed evidence of panmixia across >4,000?km despite several oceanographic breaking points detected by LPS. This is probably the result of a combination of life history traits, continuous habitat availability and stepping-stone dynamics. Moreover, the niche modelling framework depicted minimum sea surface temperatures (SST) as the major factor shaping P. perna distributional range limits along its native areas. Forthcoming warming SST is expected to further change these limits and allow the species to expand its range polewards though this may be accompanied by retreat from warmer areas.
Project description:Many ectothermic species are currently expanding their geographic range due to global warming. This can modify the population genetic diversity and structure of these species because of genetic drift during the colonization of new areas. Although the genetic signatures of historical range expansions have been investigated in an array of species, the genetic consequences of natural, contemporary range expansions have received little attention, with the only studies available focusing on range expansions along a narrow front. We investigate the genetic consequences of a natural range expansion in the Mediterranean damselfly Coenagrion scitulum, which is currently rapidly expanding along a broad front in different directions. We assessed genetic diversity and genetic structure using 12 microsatellite markers in five centrally located populations and five recently established populations at the edge of the geographic distribution. Our results suggest that, although a marginal significant decrease in the allelic richness was found in the edge populations, genetic diversity has been preserved during the range expansion of this species. Nevertheless, edge populations were genetically more differentiated compared with core populations, suggesting genetic drift during the range expansion. The smaller effective population sizes of the edge populations compared with central populations also suggest a contribution of genetic drift after colonization. We argue and document that range expansion along multiple axes of a broad expansion front generates little reduction in genetic diversity, yet stronger differentiation of the edge populations.
Project description:The Tropical Niche Conservatism hypothesis is one of the most relevant theories to explain why tropical diversity is high, although the mechanisms underlying this hypothesis require further clarification. A possible research avenue to address the underlying mechanisms includes determining population-level processes associated with such a hypothesis, in particular by trying to identify how adaptation may occur in extreme niche conditions at the edges of species ranges. However, the determinants of molecular diversity at the edges of geographical distributions of tropical taxa are still poorly known. Here we assessed which environmental variables determine diversity in nuclear and plastid genetic markers for populations of four Passiflora species in the southern limit of their geographical distributions. Climatic factors can drive genetic diversity, and their importance varies according to the marker. The primary predictors are variables representing higher temperatures during cold periods of the year and higher precipitation during dry periods. We concluded that, although these species are present in colder areas at the edge of their range, Tropical Niche Conservatism acts as a restraining force on genetic diversity in southern populations of Passiflora.
Project description:The central-marginal hypothesis (CMH) posits that range margins exhibit less genetic diversity and greater inter-population genetic differentiation compared to range cores. CMH predictions are based on long-held "abundant-centre" assumptions of a decline in ecological conditions and abundances towards range margins. Although much empirical research has confirmed CMH, exceptions remain almost as common. We contend that mangroves provide a model system to test CMH that alleviates common confounding factors and may help clarify this lack of consensus. Here, we document changes in black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) population genetics with 12 nuclear microsatellite loci along three replicate coastlines in the United States (only two of three conform to underlying "abundant-centre" assumptions). We then test an implicit prediction of CMH (reduced genetic diversity may constrain adaptation at range margins) by measuring functional traits of leaves associated with cold tolerance, the climatic factor that controls these mangrove distributional limits. CMH predictions were confirmed only along the coastlines that conform to "abundant-centre" assumptions and, in contrast to theory, range margin A. germinans exhibited functional traits consistent with greater cold tolerance compared to range cores. These findings support previous accounts that CMH may not be a general rule across species and that reduced neutral genetic diversity at range margins may not be a constraint to shifts in functional trait variation along climatic gradients.
Project description:The role of marginal populations for the long-term maintenance of species' genetic diversity and evolutionary potential is particularly timely in view of the range shifts caused by climate change. The Centre-Periphery hypothesis predicts that marginal populations should bear reduced genetic diversity and have low evolutionary potential. We analysed temporal stability at neutral microsatellite and adaptive MHC genetic variation over five decades in four marginal Atlantic salmon populations located at the southern limit of the species' distribution with a complicated demographic history, which includes stocking with foreign and native salmon for at least 2 decades. We found a temporal increase in neutral genetic variation, as well as temporal instability in population structuring, highlighting the importance of temporal analyses in studies that examine the genetic diversity of peripheral populations at the margins of the species' range, particularly in face of climate change.
Project description:Populations forming the edge of a species range are often imperiled by isolation and low genetic diversity, with proximity to human population centers being a major determinant of edge stability in modern landscapes. Since the 1960s, the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) has undergone extensive declines in heavily urbanized southern California, where the range edge has rapidly contracted northward while shifting its cardinal orientation to an east-west trending axis. We studied the genetic structure and diversity of these frontline populations, tested for signatures of contemporary disturbance, specifically fire, and attempted to disentangle these signals from demographic events extending deeper into the past. Consistent with the genetic expectations of the 'abundant-center' model, we found that diversity, admixture, and opportunity for random mating increases in populations sampled successively further away from the range boundary. Demographic simulations indicate that bottlenecks in peripheral isolates are associated with processes extending tens to a few hundred generations in the past, despite the demographic collapse of some due to recent fire-flood events. While the effects of recent disturbance have left little genetic imprint on these populations, they likely contribute to an extinction debt that will lead to continued range contraction unless management intervenes to stall or reverse the process.
Project description:In a single well-mixed population, equally abundant neutral alleles are equally likely to persist. However, in spatially complex populations structured by an asymmetric dispersal mechanism, such as a coastal population where larvae are predominantly moved downstream by currents, the eventual frequency of neutral haplotypes will depend on their initial spatial location. In our study of the progression of two spatially separate, genetically distinct introductions of the European green crab (Carcinus maenas) along the coast of eastern North America, we captured this process in action. We documented the shift of the genetic cline in this species over 8 y, and here we detail how the upstream haplotypes are beginning to dominate the system. This quantification of an evolving genetic boundary in a coastal system demonstrates that novel genetic alleles or haplotypes that arise or are introduced into upstream retention zones (regions whose export of larvae is not balanced by import from elsewhere) will increase in frequency in the entire system. This phenomenon should be widespread when there is asymmetrical dispersal, in the oceans or on land, suggesting that the upstream edge of a species' range can influence genetic diversity throughout its distribution. Efforts to protect the upstream edge of an asymmetrically dispersing species' range are vital to conserving genetic diversity in the species.
Project description:Genetic diversity is a fundamental requirement for evolution and adaptation. Nonetheless, the forces that maintain patterns of genetic variation in wild populations are not completely understood. Neutral theory posits that genetic diversity will increase with a larger effective population size and the decreasing effects of drift. However, the lack of compelling evidence for a relationship between genetic diversity and population size in comparative studies has generated some skepticism over the degree that neutral sequence evolution drives overall patterns of diversity. The goal of this study was to measure genetic diversity among sympatric populations of related lizard species that differ in population size and other ecological factors. By sampling related species from a single geographic location, we aimed to reduce nuisance variance in genetic diversity owing to species differences, for example, in mutation rates or historical biogeography. We compared populations of zebra-tailed lizards and western banded geckos, which are abundant and short-lived, to chuckwallas and desert iguanas, which are less common and long-lived. We assessed population genetic diversity at three protein-coding loci for each species. Our results were consistent with the predictions of neutral theory, as the abundant species almost always had higher levels of haplotype diversity than the less common species. Higher population genetic diversity in the abundant species is likely due to a combination of demographic factors, including larger local population sizes (and presumably effective population sizes), faster generation times and high rates of gene flow with other populations.
Project description:Understanding factors that cause species' geographic range limits is a major focus in ecology and evolution. The central marginal hypothesis (CMH) predicts that species cannot adapt to conditions beyond current geographic range edges because genetic diversity decreases from core to edge due to smaller, more isolated edge populations. We employed a population genomics framework using 24 235-33 112 SNP loci to test major predictions of the CMH in the ongoing invasion of the cane toad (Rhinella marina) in Australia. Cane toad tissue samples were collected along broad-scale, core-to-edge transects across their invasive range. Geographic and ecological core areas were identified using GIS and habitat suitability indices from ecological niche modelling. Bayesian clustering analyses revealed three genetic clusters, in the northwest invasion-front region, northeast precipitation-limited region and southeast cold temperature-limited region. Core-to-edge patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation were consistent with the CMH in the southeast, but were not supported in the northeast and showed mixed support in the northwest. Results suggest cold temperatures are a likely contributor to southeastern range limits, consistent with CMH predictions. In the northeast and northwest, ecological processes consisting of a steep physiological barrier and ongoing invasion dynamics, respectively, are more likely explanations for population genomic patterns than the CMH.