Article: article from journal or magazin.
Within- and among-population impact of genetic erosion on adult fitness-related traits in the European tree frog Hyla arborea.
Assessing in wild populations how fitness is impacted by inbreeding and genetic drift is a major goal for conservation biology. An approach to measure the detrimental effects of inbreeding on fitness is to estimate correlations between molecular variation and phenotypic performances within and among populations. Our study investigated the effect of individual multilocus heterozygosity on body size, body condition and reproductive investment of males (that is, chorus attendance) and females (that is, clutch mass and egg size) in both small fragmented and large non-fragmented populations of European tree frog (Hyla arborea). Because adult size and/or condition and reproductive investment are usually related, genetic erosion may have detrimental effects directly on reproductive investment, and also on individual body size and condition that in turn may affect reproductive investment. We confirmed that the reproductive investment was highly size-dependent for both sexes. Larger females invested more in offspring production, and larger males attended the chorus in the pond more often. Our results did not provide evidence for a decline in body size, condition and reproductive effort with decreased multilocus heterozygosity both within and among populations. We showed that the lack of heterozygosity-fitness correlations within populations probably resulted from low inbreeding levels (inferior to ca. 20% full-sib mating rate), even in the small fragmented populations. The detrimental effects of fixation load were either low in adults or hidden by environmental variation among populations. These findings will be useful to design specific management actions to improve population persistence.
amphibians, heterozygosity, habitat fragmentation, fitness, inbreeding, reproductive investment
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