Conservation Genetics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 599–606 | Cite as

Impact of urban fragmentation on the genetic structure of the eastern red-backed salamander

  • Sarah Noël
  • Martin Ouellet
  • Patrick Galois
  • François-Joseph Lapointe
Original Paper

Abstract

Urban development is a major cause of habitat loss and fragmentation. Few studies, however, have dealt with fragmentation in an urban landscape. In this paper, we examine the genetic structure of isolated populations of the eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) in a metropolitan area. We sampled four populations located on a mountain in the heart of Montréal (Québec, Canada), which presents a mosaic of forested patches isolated by roads, graveyards and buildings. We assessed the genetic structure of these populations using microsatellite loci and compared it to the genetic structure of four populations located in a continuous habitat in southern Québec. Our results indicate that allelic richness and heterozygosity are lower in the urban populations. Exact differentiation tests and pairwise FST also show that the populations found in the fragmented habitat are genetically differentiated, whereas populations located in the continuous habitat are genetically homogeneous. These results raise conservation concerns for these populations as well as for rare or threatened species inhabiting urban landscapes.

Keywords

Conservation genetics Habitat fragmentation Microsatellites Plethodon cinereus Urbanization 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Noël
    • 1
  • Martin Ouellet
    • 2
  • Patrick Galois
    • 2
  • François-Joseph Lapointe
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de sciences biologiquesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Amphibia-NatureMontréalCanada

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