Present address: Department of Biology, FI-20014, University of Turku, Finland.
History vs. current demography: explaining the genetic population structure of the common frog (Rana temporaria)
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2006
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 975–983, April 2006
How to Cite
JOHANSSON, M., PRIMMER, C. R. and MERILÄ, J. (2006), History vs. current demography: explaining the genetic population structure of the common frog (Rana temporaria). Molecular Ecology, 15: 975–983. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.02866.x
- Issue published online: 14 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2006
- Received 1 November 2005; revision accepted 29 November 2005
- effective population size;
- genetic diversity;
- genetic structure;
- neighbourhood size
The amount of genetic variability at neutral marker loci is expected to decrease, and the degree of genetic differentiation among populations to increase, as a negative function of effective population size. We assessed the patterns of genetic variability and differentiation at seven microsatellite loci in the common frog (Rana temporaria) in a hierarchical sampling scheme involving three regions (208–885 km apart), three subregions within regions and nine populations (5–20 km apart) within subregions, and related the variability and differentiation estimates to variation in local population size estimates. Genetic variability within local populations decreased significantly with increasing latitude, as well as with decreasing population size and regional site occupancy (proportion of censured localities occupied). The positive relationship between population size and genetic variability estimates was evident also when the effect of latitude (cf. colonization history) was accounted for. Significant genetic differentiation was found at all hierarchical levels, and the degree of population differentiation tended to increase with increasing latitude. Isolation by distance was evident especially at the regional sampling level, and its strength increased significantly towards the north in concordance with decreasing census and marker-based neighbourhood size estimates. These results are in line with the conjecture that the influence of current demographic factors can override the influence of historical factors on species population genetic structure. Further, the observed reductions in genetic variability and increased degree of population differentiation towards the north are in line with theoretical and empirical treatments suggesting that effective population sizes decline towards the periphery of a species’ range.