The ecological genetics of introduced populations of the giant toad, Bufo marinus (Amphibia: Anura): dispersal and neighbourhood size


  • Simon Easteal,

    1. Department of Population Biology, Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia
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    • *Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, U.S.A.

  • Robert B. Floyd

    1. CSIRO Division of Entomology, Private Bag # 3, Indooroopilly, Queensland 4068, Australia
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The pattern of colonization of the Moreton Bay region in southeast Queensland, Australia, by the giant toad, Bufo marinus, is described. Estimates are made of the rates of colonization in this and other regions. The mean values obtained range from 2.5 km/year in the south to 15.1 km/year in the north. The analysis suggests that colonization has been discontinuous in many areas, probably as a result of occasional, long-distance transportation of toads by humans. The variation in colonization rate is related in a predictable way to variation in environmental factors such as temperature and topography. In areas where discontinuities are least likely, colonization rates are used to estimate rates of continuous dispersal. These are combined with estimates of population density, sex ratios and offspring number variance to obtain estimates of genetic neighbourhood size. These are much greater than estimates of the effective size of B. marinus populations determined from gene frequency variances. The reasons for and implications of this discrepancy are discussed.