Local Adaptation, Countergradient Variation and Ecological Genetics of Life-history Traits in Rana Temporaria

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: The main aim of this work was to identify local adaptation processes in amphibian populations, thereby improving the general understanding of genetics and mechanisms behind the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity. Phenotypic and genetic variation in life-history traits was studied within and between populations common frog (Rana temporaria) populations along a 1600 km transect from southern Sweden to northern Finland.Embryonic and larval development and growth was investigated both under field and laboratory conditions. The results suggest ample genetic diversity in larval life-history traits among Fennoscandian common frog populations. Larval developmental rate along the gradient has evolved a countergradient variation pattern of genotypes and phenotypes as indicated by the positive relationship between developmental rate and latitude under laboratory conditions and the lack of such a relationship in the field. The data suggest that this pattern has evolved because of time constraints due to decreasing length of growth season with latitude. Neither field-caught adults nor laboratory raised larvae displayed a linear latitudinal size cline as expected from the so called Bergmanns rule. Rather, size increased towards the mid-latitude populations and decreased thereafter, indicating that body size is a product of direct environmental induction or a trade-off with other life-history characters. Age and size at hatching showed no consistent latitudinal pattern, indicating that the embryonic stage is not as time constrained as the larval stage.A large part of the variation in age and size at metamorphosis among populations was due to additive genetic effects. However, small, but significant maternal effects, mostly due to variation in egg size and non-additive genetic effects also contributed to among population variation. A comparison of divergence in presumably neutral molecular genetic markers (FST) and quantitative characters (QST) revealed that although both estimates of divergence were relatively high, estimates of QST was generally higher than those of FST, indicating that the genetic variation observed in larval traits is primarily a result of natural selection rather than genetic drift. Hence, our results reinforce the conclusion that intraspecific genetic heterogeneity in the young northern European ecosystems may be more widespread than previously anticipated

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