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Adaptive divergence along environmental gradients in a climate-change-sensitive mammal

Authors

  • P. Henry,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. Ecosystem Science and Management Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9, Canada
    • Correspondence

      Philippe Henry, Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, 3333 University Way, Kelowna,BC V1V 1V7, Canada. Tel: +12509605424; Fax: +12509605539; E-mail: henryp@unbc.ca

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  • M. A. Russello

    1. Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada
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Abstract

In the face of predicted climate change, a broader understanding of biotic responses to varying environments has become increasingly important within the context of biodiversity conservation. Local adaptation is one potential option, yet remarkably few studies have harnessed genomic tools to evaluate the efficacy of this response within natural populations. Here, we show evidence of selection driving divergence of a climate-change-sensitive mammal, the American pika (Ochotona princeps), distributed along elevation gradients at its northern range margin in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia (BC), Canada. We employed amplified-fragment-length-polymorphism-based genomic scans to conduct genomewide searches for candidate loci among populations inhabiting varying environments from sea level to 1500 m. Using several independent approaches to outlier locus detection, we identified 68 candidate loci putatively under selection (out of a total 1509 screened), 15 of which displayed significant associations with environmental variables including annual precipitation and maximum summer temperature. These candidate loci may represent important targets for predicting pika responses to climate change and informing novel approaches to wildlife conservation in a changing world.

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