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Port Adelaide, Australia

Roda F.,University of Queensland | Ambrose L.,University of Queensland | Walter G.M.,University of Queensland | Liu H.L.,University of Queensland | And 8 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2013

Instances of parallel ecotypic divergence where adaptation to similar conditions repeatedly cause similar phenotypic changes in closely related organisms are useful for studying the role of ecological selection in speciation. Here we used a combination of traditional and next generation genotyping techniques to test for the parallel divergence of plants from the Senecio lautus complex, a phenotypically variable groundsel that has adapted to disparate environments in the South Pacific. Phylogenetic analysis of a broad selection of Senecio species showed that members of the S. lautus complex form a distinct lineage that has diversified recently in Australasia. An inspection of thousands of polymorphisms in the genome of 27 natural populations from the S. lautus complex in Australia revealed a signal of strong genetic structure independent of habitat and phenotype. Additionally, genetic differentiation between populations was correlated with the geographical distance separating them, and the genetic diversity of populations strongly depended on geographical location. Importantly, coastal forms appeared in several independent phylogenetic clades, a pattern that is consistent with the parallel evolution of these forms. Analyses of the patterns of genomic differentiation between populations further revealed that adjacent populations displayed greater genomic heterogeneity than allopatric populations and are differentiated according to variation in soil composition. These results are consistent with a process of parallel ecotypic divergence in face of gene flow. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Pavlacky D.C.,University of Queensland | Possingham H.P.,University of Queensland | Lowe A.J.,University of Adelaide | Lowe A.J.,Science Resource Center | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2012

Local extinctions in habitat patches and asymmetric dispersal between patches are key processes structuring animal populations in heterogeneous environments. Effective landscape conservation requires an understanding of how habitat loss and fragmentation influence demographic processes within populations and movement between populations. We used patch occupancy surveys and molecular data for a rainforest bird, the logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii), to determine (i) the effects of landscape change and patch structure on local extinction; (ii) the asymmetry of emigration and immigration rates; (iii) the relative influence of local and between-population landscapes on asymmetric emigration and immigration; and (iv) the relative contributions of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation to asymmetric emigration and immigration. Whether or not a patch was occupied by logrunners was primarily determined by the isolation of that patch. After controlling for patch isolation, patch occupancy declined in landscapes experiencing high levels of rainforest loss over the last 100years. Habitat loss and fragmentation over the last century was more important than the current pattern of patch isolation alone, which suggested that immigration from neighbouring patches was unable to prevent local extinction in highly modified landscapes. We discovered that dispersal between logrunner populations is highly asymmetric. Emigration rates were 39% lower when local landscapes were fragmented, but emigration was not limited by the structure of the between-population landscapes. In contrast, immigration was 37% greater when local landscapes were fragmented and was lower when the between-population landscapes were fragmented. Rainforest fragmentation influenced asymmetric dispersal to a greater extent than did rainforest loss, and a 60% reduction in mean patch area was capable of switching a population from being a net exporter to a net importer of dispersing logrunners. The synergistic effects of landscape change on species occurrence and asymmetric dispersal have important implications for conservation. Conservation measures that maintain large patch sizes in the landscape may promote asymmetric dispersal from intact to fragmented landscapes and allow rainforest bird populations to persist in fragmented and degraded landscapes. These sink populations could form the kernel of source populations given sufficient habitat restoration. However, the success of this rescue effect will depend on the quality of the between-population landscapes. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society. Source

Fordham D.A.,University of Adelaide | Watts M.J.,University of Adelaide | Delean S.,University of Adelaide | Brook B.W.,University of Adelaide | And 3 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2012

The distributional ranges of many species are contracting with habitat conversion and climate change. For vertebrates, informed strategies for translocations are an essential option for decisions about their conservation management. The pygmy bluetongue lizard, Tiliqua adelaidensis, is an endangered reptile with a highly restricted distribution, known from only a small number of natural grassland fragments in South Australia. Land-use changes over the last century have converted perennial native grasslands into croplands, pastures and urban areas, causing substantial contraction of the species' range due to loss of essential habitat. Indeed, the species was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in 1992. We develop coupled-models that link habitat suitability with stochastic demographic processes to estimate extinction risk and to explore the efficacy of potential climate adaptation options. These coupled-models offer improvements over simple bioclimatic envelope models for estimating the impacts of climate change on persistence probability. Applying this coupled-model approach to T. adelaidensis, we show that: (i) climate-driven changes will adversely impact the expected minimum abundance of populations and could cause extinction without management intervention, (ii) adding artificial burrows might enhance local population density, however, without targeted translocations this measure has a limited effect on extinction risk, (iii) managed relocations are critical for safeguarding lizard population persistence, as a sole or joint action and (iv) where to source and where to relocate animals in a program of translocations depends on the velocity, extent and nonlinearities in rates of climate-induced habitat change. These results underscore the need to consider managed relocations as part of any multifaceted plan to compensate the effects of habitat loss or shifting environmental conditions on species with low dispersal capacity. More broadly, we provide the first step towards a more comprehensive framework for integrating extinction risk, managed relocations and climate change information into range-wide conservation management. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Breed M.F.,University of Adelaide | Breed M.F.,Uppsala University | Stead M.G.,University of Adelaide | Ottewell K.M.,University of Adelaide | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2013

Revegetation is one practical application of science that should ideally aim to combine ecology with evolution to maximise biodiversity and ecosystem outcomes. The strict use of locally sourced seed in revegetation programs is widespread and is based on the expectation that populations are locally adapted. This practice does not fully integrate two global drivers of ecosystem change and biodiversity loss: habitat fragmentation and climate change. Here, we suggest amendments to existing strategies combined with a review of alternative seed-sourcing strategies that propose to mitigate against these drivers. We present a provenancing selection guide based on confidence surrounding climate change distribution modelling and data on population genetic and/or environmental differences between populations. Revegetation practices will benefit from greater integration of current scientific developments and establishment of more long-term experiments is key to improving the long-term success. The rapid growth in carbon and biodiversity markets creates a favourable economic climate to achieve these outcomes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Breed M.F.,University of Adelaide | Breed M.F.,Uppsala University | Marklund M.H.K.,University of Adelaide | Marklund M.H.K.,Uppsala University | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2012

Few studies have documented the impacts of habitat fragmentation on plant mating patterns together with fitness. Yet, these processes require urgent attention to better understand the impact of contemporary landscape change on biodiversity and for guiding native plant genetic resource management. We examined these relationships using the predominantly insect-pollinated Eucalyptus socialis. Progeny were collected from trees located in three increasingly disturbed landscapes in southern Australia and were planted out in common garden experiments. We show that individual mating patterns were increasingly impacted by lower conspecific density caused by habitat fragmentation. We determined that reduced pollen diversity probably has effects over and above those of inbreeding on progeny fitness. This provides an alternative mechanistic explanation for the indirect density dependence often inferred between conspecific density and offspring fitness. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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