Preface to the special issue: advances in the analysis of spatial genetic data

Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553, BP 53, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.
Molecular Ecology Resources (Impact Factor: 5.63). 09/2010; 10(5):757-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02899.x
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    ABSTRACT: Populations along the northern boundary of a marine species’ distributional range in the NE Atlantic are expected to harbor lower standing genetic variation as a consequence of postglacial expansion following the last glacial maximum. Founder events and marginal habitat availability may render the edge populations more vulnerable to anthropogenic stress and less capable of rapid adaptation to global climate change, a concern for conservation and management. We analyzed meadow architecture, persistence and connectivity within and among 15 locations (600 samples genotyped with 8 microsatellite loci) in 3 fjords in Troms County, Norway (69° N). Whereas global mean allelic diversity (standardized for sample size) was in accordance with previous studies using the same markers, more extensive sampling revealed a broader range of allelic richness (mean = 2.85; range = 1.84 to 4.21) in the regional pool. Genotypic diversity was typically high, whereas large genets were rare (2 out of 15 locations). Population differentiation (FST) was 2 to 6 times higher between fjords than within fjords. A Bayesian (STRUCTURE) analysis also strongly supported the genetic distinctness of each fjord. Although 9 locations within the 60 km long Balsfjord were connected by gene flow, demographic connectivity may actually be low, as fixed differences were observed at 6 of the 9 locations, along with significantly positive inbreeding coefficients and strong substructure. Overall, our results suggest that these northern, leading-edge meadows are healthy, but vigilance is required to avoid further losses. Fjord-level management, especially of the larger fjords, will be sufficient to capture the range of variation.
    Marine Ecology Progress Series 07/2013; 486:121-132. DOI:10.3354/meps10373 · 2.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular genetic techniques have been used in freshwater biology for more than 30 years. Early work focussed on studies of population structure, systematics and taxonomy. More recently, the range of studies has broadened to include ecology and adaptation. Advances in analytical methods and in technology (e.g. next-generation sequencing) and decreasing costs of data production ensure that the field will continue to develop and broaden in scope.At least three factors make the application of molecular techniques to freshwater biology exciting. First, the highly variable nature of many aquatic habitats makes them excellent models for the study of environmental change on ecological and evolutionary time scales. Second, the mature state of the field of freshwater biology provides an extensive foundation of ecological knowledge of freshwater organisms and their distinct adaptations. Third, the methodological advances allow researchers to focus more on merging molecular and ecological research and less on designing studies around technical limitations.We identified eight research areas in freshwater biology in which the integration of molecular and ecological approaches provides exceptional opportunities. The list is not exhaustive, but considers a broad range of topics and spans the continuum from basic to applied research. The areas identified use a combination of natural, experimental and in silico approaches.With advancing molecular techniques, freshwater biology is in an unusually strong position to link the genetic basis and ecological importance of adaptations across a wide range of taxa, ecosystems and spatiotemporal scales. Our aim was to identify opportunities for the integration of molecular and ecological approaches, to motivate greater collaboration and crossover, and to promote exploitation of the synergies of bridging ecological and evolutionary freshwater research.
    Freshwater Biology 04/2014; 59(8):1559-1576. DOI:10.1111/fwb.12381 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evolutionary processes that produce adaptive radiations are enigmatic. They can only be studied after the fact, once a radiation has occurred and been recognized, rather than while the processes are ongoing. One way to connect pattern to process is to study the processes driving divergence today among populations of species that belong to an adaptive radiation, and compare the results to patterns observed at a deeper, macroevolutionary level. We tested whether evolution is a deterministic process with similar outcomes during different stages of the adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards. Using a clade of terrestrial-scansorial lizards in the genus Anolis, we inferred the adaptive basis of spatial variation among contemporary populations and tested whether axes of phenotypic differentiation among them mirror known axes of diversification at deeper levels of the anole radiation. Nonparallel change associated with genetic divergence explains the vast majority of geographic variation. However, we found phenotypic variation to be adaptive as confirmed by convergence in populations occurring in similar habitats in different mountain ranges. Morphological diversification among populations recurs deterministically along two axes of diversification previously identified in the anole radiation, but the characters involved differ from those involved in adaptation at higher levels of anole phylogeny.
    Evolution 11/2013; 67(11):3175-90. DOI:10.1111/evo.12184 · 4.66 Impact Factor