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Islands within an island; population genetic structure of the endemic Sardinian newt, Euproctus platycephalus

Ball, SE; Bovero, S; Sotgiu, G; Tessa, G; Angelini, C; Bielby, J; Durrant, C; ... Garner, TWJ; + view all (2017) Islands within an island; population genetic structure of the endemic Sardinian newt, Euproctus platycephalus. Ecology and Evolution , 7 (4) pp. 1190-1211. 10.1002/ece3.2665. Green open access

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Abstract

The identification of historic and contemporary barriers to dispersal is central to the conservation of endangered amphibians, but may be hindered by their complex life history and elusive nature. The complementary information generated by mitochondrial (mtDNA) and microsatellite markers generates a valuable tool in elucidating population structure and the impact of habitat fragmentation. We applied this approach to the study of an endangered montane newt, Euproctus platycephalus. Endemic to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, it is threatened by anthropogenic activity, disease and climate change. We have demonstrated a clear hierarchy of structure across genetically divergent andspatially distinct sub-populations. Divergence between three main mountain regions dominated genetic partitioning with both markers. Mitochondrial phylogeography revealed a deep division dating to ca 1 Mya, isolating the northern region, and further differentiation between the central and southern regions ca 0.5Mya, suggesting an association with Pleistocene severe glacial oscillations. Our findings are consistent with a model of southward range expansion during glacial periods, with post-glacial range retraction to montane habitat and subsequent genetic isolation. Microsatellite markers revealed further strong population structure, demonstrating significant divergence within the central region, and partial differentiation within the south. The northern population showed reduced genetic diversity. Discordance between mitochondrial and microsatellite markers at this scale indicated a further complexity of population structure, in keeping with male-biased dispersal and female philopatry. Our study underscores the need to elucidate cryptic population structure in the ecology and conservation strategies for endangered island-restricted amphibians, especially in the context of disease and climate change.

Type: Article
Title: Islands within an island; population genetic structure of the endemic Sardinian newt, Euproctus platycephalus
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2665
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2665
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Euproctus; genetic structure; mitochondria microsatellite discordance; Mediterranean island endemic
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527430
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