Landscape genetics in mammals

Claudine Montgelard, Saliha Zenboudji 1 , Anne-Laure Ferchaud 1 , Véronique Arnal 1 ,  and Bettine Jansen van Vuuren 2
  • 1 Laboratoire de Biogéographie et Écologie des Vertébrés (EPHE), Centre d’Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (CNRS UMR 5175), 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France
  • 2 Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa
Claudine Montgelard, Saliha Zenboudji, Anne-Laure Ferchaud, Véronique Arnal and Bettine Jansen van Vuuren

Abstract

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.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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