Genetic structure of natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) populations in Flanders, Belgium, and its implications for conservation

Joke Maes, Arend Raoul Van Oosten, Natalie Van Houtte, Erik Matthysen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Unique evolutionary potential could be lost when a population goes extinct or when individuals are translocated to other existing populations. Therefore, in order to identify priorities and to predict the efficiency and consequences of conservation actions, information is needed on the genetic structure of natural populations. In the urbanized and diverse landscapes of Flanders, Belgium, natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) populations have been declining over the last decades. Therefore, this species is subjected to a wide range of different types of conservation measures (e.g. habitat management, corridor development, translocations). However, more information is needed on its genetic population structure. In this study, we sampled egg clutches from six populations and studied their genetic structure with six microsatellite markers. In total, 184 samples from 99 different egg strings were genotyped. Observed heterozygosity was generally high, even for the small and isolated populations (overall mean HO = 0.43). The weak clustering by the Bayesian analyses (STRUCTURE, Adegenet and BAPS) does not allow us to make strong conclusions on the population structure. However, the significant φST values between the populations underline the importance of genetic information when conservation priorities are discussed. Unique evolutionary potential could be lost when one or more natterjack toad populations would go extinct, and translocation of individuals to other existing populations should be considered with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalAmphibia-Reptilia
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Bufo calamita
toad
Belgium
genetic structure
translocation
population structure
egg
habitat management
isolated population
heterozygosity
habitat conservation
egg masses
microsatellite repeats

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Epidalea calamita
  • Genetic differentiation
  • Microsatellites
  • Population genetics

Cite this

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title = "Genetic structure of natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) populations in Flanders, Belgium, and its implications for conservation",
abstract = "Unique evolutionary potential could be lost when a population goes extinct or when individuals are translocated to other existing populations. Therefore, in order to identify priorities and to predict the efficiency and consequences of conservation actions, information is needed on the genetic structure of natural populations. In the urbanized and diverse landscapes of Flanders, Belgium, natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) populations have been declining over the last decades. Therefore, this species is subjected to a wide range of different types of conservation measures (e.g. habitat management, corridor development, translocations). However, more information is needed on its genetic population structure. In this study, we sampled egg clutches from six populations and studied their genetic structure with six microsatellite markers. In total, 184 samples from 99 different egg strings were genotyped. Observed heterozygosity was generally high, even for the small and isolated populations (overall mean HO = 0.43). The weak clustering by the Bayesian analyses (STRUCTURE, Adegenet and BAPS) does not allow us to make strong conclusions on the population structure. However, the significant φST values between the populations underline the importance of genetic information when conservation priorities are discussed. Unique evolutionary potential could be lost when one or more natterjack toad populations would go extinct, and translocation of individuals to other existing populations should be considered with caution.",
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Genetic structure of natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) populations in Flanders, Belgium, and its implications for conservation. / Maes, Joke; Van Oosten, Arend Raoul; Van Houtte, Natalie; Matthysen, Erik.

In: Amphibia-Reptilia, Vol. 40, No. 2, 01.01.2019, p. 193-205.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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