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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 7, 2013

Landscape genetics in mammals

  • Claudine Montgelard EMAIL logo , Saliha Zenboudji , Anne-Laure Ferchaud , Véronique Arnal and Bettine Jansen van Vuuren
From the journal Mammalia


The focus of this review is on landscape genetics (LG), a relatively new discipline that arose approximately 10 years ago. LG spans the interface between population genetics and landscape ecology and thus incorporates the concepts, methods, and tools from both disciplines. On the basis of an understanding of the spatial distribution of genetic diversity, LG aims to explain how landscape and environmental characteristics influence microevolutionary processes and metapopulation dynamics, including gene flow (i.e., connectivity) and selection (i.e., local adaptations). LG is concerned with events that occurred during the recent time scale, and the individual is the operational unit. As a discipline that combines spatial genetic diversity with ecological features, LG is able to address questions relating to different evolutionary processes. We illustrate some of these here using examples taken from mammals: population structure; gene flow and the identification of barriers; fragmentation, connectivity, and corridors; local adaptation and selection; there are two different questions: applications in conservation genetics; and future developments in LG. We will then present the methods and tools commonly used in the different steps of LG analyses: the genetic and landscape sampling, the quantification of genetic variation, the characterization of spatial landscape structures, and finally, the correlation between genetic patterns and landscape features.

Corresponding author: Claudine Montgelard, Laboratory of Biogeography and Vertebrate Ecology (EPHE), Centre for Evolutionary and Functional Ecology (CNRS UMR 5175), 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France; and Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa, e-mail:


We thank Guila Ganem for the invitation to write this review as well as Stéphanie Manel and Claude Miaud for helpful comments on the manuscript. This review also greatly benefitted from the constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers. BvV is a core team member of the Centre for Invasion Biology. Logistical support from the CIB is acknowledged.


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Received: 2012-12-24
Accepted: 2013-9-23
Published Online: 2013-11-7
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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