Geographical surrogates of genetic variation for selecting island populations for conservation

Ponce-Reyes, Rocío, Clegg, Sonya M., Carvalho, Silvia B., Mcdonald-Madden, Eve and Possingham, Hugh P. (2014) Geographical surrogates of genetic variation for selecting island populations for conservation. Diversity and Distributions, 20 6: 640-651. doi:10.1111/ddi.12195

Author Ponce-Reyes, Rocío
Clegg, Sonya M.
Carvalho, Silvia B.
Mcdonald-Madden, Eve
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Geographical surrogates of genetic variation for selecting island populations for conservation
Journal name Diversity and Distributions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1366-9516
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ddi.12195
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 20
Issue 6
Start page 640
End page 651
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Language eng
Subject 1105 Dentistry
Abstract Aim: Threatened species often exist in small numbers in isolated populations. Limited financial resources usually constrain conservationists to allocate funds to a subset of these populations. Because obtaining information required to maximize the amount of genetic and phenotypic variation protected can be costly and time-consuming, the utility of surrogates should be explored. This study tests the efficacy of three simple and cost-effective geographical measures in capturing genetic and phenotypic variation in fragmented populations when setting conservation priorities. Location: Vanuatu archipelago. Methods: We used neutral genetic data (mtDNA and microsatellites) and morphometric data (a proxy for functional variation) for two bird species displaying different patterns of regional population genetic structure: Zosterops flavifrons and Zosterops lateralis. We tested the performance of three geographical surrogates (maximizing: geographical distance between islands; area of islands; geographical representation of islands), in representing divergence between and diversity within populations, constrained to the number of islands being protected. Results: Maximizing geographical separation of sites provided the best surrogate for a constrained budget (< 50% of the populations) for both species. For a larger protected area system (> 50% of the populations), the spatially most representative sites were often more effective. Selecting islands based on size retained about half of within-population genetic diversity; however, this was not much higher than selecting the islands randomly. Main conclusions: The ability of surrogates to capture genetic or phenotypic variation varied depending on the species, genetic markers and number of islands selected. While imperfect, selection of populations based on simple geographical surrogates for genetic and phenotypic variation will generally be better than random selection for conserving the evolutionary potential of threatened populations when time and money limit a more thorough and direct analyses of genetic and phenotypic variation.
Keyword Area
Conservation management
Genetic distance
Geographical distance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID SFRH/BPD/74423/2010
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 25 May 2014, 10:12:58 EST by System User on behalf of School of Biological Sciences