Fine scale spatial genetic structure of two syntopic newts across a network of ponds: implications for conservation
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In this study we used genetic approaches to assess the influence of landscape features on the dispersal patterns and genetic structure of two newt species (Triturus macedonicus and Lissotriton vulgaris) living syntopically in a network of ponds. Multilocus genotypes were used to detect and measure genetic variation patterns, population genetic structure and levels of gene flow. We interpret results on the basis of the different dispersal properties of the two species and explored the influence of certain landscape features, such as road and channel networks, on population connectivity. We found marked differences in the spatial genetic patterns of the respective species, which can be explained by their different dispersal properties. The road network seems to act as a barrier to dispersal in the overland dispersing L. vulgaris, while the channel network maintains connectivity in the aquatic dispersing T. macedonicus. The simultaneous and comparative consideration of species in a given area offers a much better understanding of the processes that govern population dynamics and persistence, providing valuable knowledge useful in conservation and management design.