, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1685-1689
Date: 12 Sep 2012

A decade of amphibian population genetic studies: synthesis and recommendations

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Abstract

Amphibians are declining globally, and a comprehensive understanding of the spatial distribution of genetic diversity will inform conservation efforts. However, studies that estimate amphibian population genetic structure and gene flow have not yet been synthesized. Our search of literature from 2001 to 2010 yielded 552 amphibian population and landscape genetic studies, of which 139 explicitly estimated gene flow or genetic structure. We examined these works for general trends and conducted a meta-analysis of reported FST values. The majority of studies took place in temperate forests in North America and Europe, with no studies of caecilians and few studies of direct-developing species. Among landscape genetic studies, rivers, roads, and mountain ridges were the predominant barriers identified. Conservation status was the only factor that showed a significant relationship with FST, with the least concern IUCN status differing significantly from the near threatened (NT) status as well as from any combination of IUCN statuses that included NT. Recent technological advances will help researchers fill taxonomic and geographic research gaps, thereby facilitating management plans that address a greater diversity of amphibian species.