Anthropogenic and natural barriers affect genetic connectivity in an Alpine butterfly
AuthorTrense, D; Schmidt, TL; Yang, Q; Chung, J; Hoffmann, AA; Fischer, K
Source TitleMolecular Ecology
AffiliationSchool of BioSciences
Medicine Dentistry & Health Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTrense, D., Schmidt, T. L., Yang, Q., Chung, J., Hoffmann, A. A. & Fischer, K. (2021). Anthropogenic and natural barriers affect genetic connectivity in an Alpine butterfly. MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, 30 (1), pp.114-130. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15707.
Access StatusOpen Access
Dispersal is a key biological process serving several functions including connectivity among populations. Habitat fragmentation caused by natural or anthropogenic structures may hamper dispersal, thereby disrupting genetic connectivity. Investigating factors affecting dispersal and gene flow is important in the current era of anthropogenic global change, as dispersal comprises a vital part of a species’ resilience to environmental change. Using finescale landscape genomics, we investigated gene flow and genetic structure of the Sooty Copper butterfly (Lycaena tityrus) in the Alpine Ötz valley system in Austria. We found surprisingly high levels of gene flow in L. tityrus across the region. Nevertheless, ravines, forests, and roads had effects on genetic structure, while rivers did not. The latter is surprising as roads and rivers have a similar width and run largely in parallel in our study area, pointing towards a higher impact of anthropogenic compared with natural linear structures. Additionally, we detected eleven loci potentially under thermal selection, including ones related to membranes, metabolism, and immune function. This study demonstrates the usefulness of molecular approaches in obtaining estimates of dispersal and population processes in the wild. Our results suggest that, despite high gene flow in the Alpine valley system investigated, L. tityrus nevertheless seems to be vulnerable to anthropogenically‐driven habitat fragmentation. With anthropogenic rather than natural linear structures affecting gene flow, this may have important consequences for the persistence of species such as the butterfly studied here in altered landscapes.
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References