Research Article

Conservation Genetics

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 313-322

Structure and fragmentation of growling grass frog metapopulations

  • Joshua M. HaleAffiliated withSciences Department, Museum VictoriaDepartment of Zoology, University of MelbourneSchool of Botany, University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , Geoffrey W. HeardAffiliated withSchool of Botany, University of MelbourneDepartment of Zoology, La Trobe University
  • , Katie L. SmithAffiliated withSciences Department, Museum VictoriaDepartment of Zoology, University of MelbourneSchool of Botany, University of Melbourne
  • , Kirsten M. ParrisAffiliated withSchool of Botany, University of Melbourne
  • , Jeremy J. AustinAffiliated withSciences Department, Museum VictoriaAustralian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide
  • , Michael KearneyAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Melbourne
  • , Jane MelvilleAffiliated withSciences Department, Museum Victoria

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

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

Endangered Growling grass frog Metapopulation Habitat fragmentation Microsatellites Urbanization