Conservation Genetics

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 313–322

Structure and fragmentation of growling grass frog metapopulations

Authors

    • Sciences DepartmentMuseum Victoria
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Melbourne
    • School of BotanyUniversity of Melbourne
  • Geoffrey W. Heard
    • School of BotanyUniversity of Melbourne
    • Department of ZoologyLa Trobe University
  • Katie L. Smith
    • Sciences DepartmentMuseum Victoria
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Melbourne
    • School of BotanyUniversity of Melbourne
  • Kirsten M. Parris
    • School of BotanyUniversity of Melbourne
  • Jeremy J. Austin
    • Sciences DepartmentMuseum Victoria
    • Australian Centre for Ancient DNAUniversity of Adelaide
  • Michael Kearney
    • Department of ZoologyUniversity of Melbourne
  • Jane Melville
    • Sciences DepartmentMuseum Victoria
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-012-0428-9

Cite this article as:
Hale, J.M., Heard, G.W., Smith, K.L. et al. Conserv Genet (2013) 14: 313. doi:10.1007/s10592-012-0428-9

Abstract

Metapopulations occur in fragmented landscapes, and consist of demographically-independent populations connected by dispersal. Nevertheless, anthropogenic habitat fragmentation may be fatal to metapopulations, as it disrupts dispersal and gene flow, and undermines the balance between population extinction and colonization. Understanding the extent to which particular land-use practices disrupt dispersal and gene flow is therefore crucial for conserving metapopulations. We examined the structure and fragmentation of metapopulations of the endangered growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis) in an urbanizing landscape in southern Australia. Population clustering analyses revealed three distinct genetic units, corresponding to the three wetland clusters sampled. Isolation-by-distance was apparent between populations, and genetic distance was significantly correlated with the presence of urban barriers between populations. Our study provides evidence that urbanization fragments metapopulations of L. raniformis. Managers of L. raniformis in urbanizing landscapes should seek to mitigate effects of urbanization on dispersal and gene flow.

Keywords

EndangeredGrowling grass frogMetapopulationHabitat fragmentationMicrosatellitesUrbanization

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012