Streams over mountains: influence of riparian connectivity on gene flow in the Pacific jumping mouse (Zapus trinotatus)

Authors


S. N. Vignieri, Biology Department, Box 351800, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 USA; Fax: 206-543-3041; E-mail: sachav@u.washington.edu

Abstract

In species affiliated with heterogeneous habitat, we expect gene flow to be restricted due to constraints placed on individual movement by habitat boundaries. This is likely to impact both individual dispersal and connectivity between populations. In this study, a GIS-based landscape genetics approach was used, in combination with fine-scale spatial autocorrelation analysis and the estimation of recent intersubpopulation migration rates, to infer patterns of dispersal and migration in the riparian-affiliated Pacific jumping mouse (Zapus trinotatus). A total of 228 individuals were sampled from nine subpopulations across a system of three rivers and genotyped at eight microsatellite loci. Significant spatial autocorrelation among individuals revealed a pattern of fine-scale spatial genetic structure indicative of limited dispersal. Geographical distances between pairwise subpopulations were defined following four criteria: (i) Euclidean distance, and three landscape-specific distances, (ii) river distance (distance travelled along the river only), (iii) overland distance (similar to Euclidean, but includes elevation), and (iv) habitat-path distance (a least-cost path distance that models movement along habitat pathways). Pairwise Mantel tests were used to test for a correlation between genetic distance and each of the geographical distances. Significant correlations were found between genetic distance and both the overland and habitat-path distances; however, the correlation with habitat-path distance was stronger. Lastly, estimates of recent migration rates revealed that migration occurs not only within drainages but also across large topographic barriers. These results suggest that patterns of dispersal and migration in Pacific jumping mice are largely determined by habitat connectivity.

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