Genetic Diversification, Vicariance, and Selection in a Polytypic Frog

J. M. Robertson, K. R. Zamudio
2009 Journal of Heredity  
Spatial patterns of heritable phenotypic diversity reflect the relative roles of gene flow and selection in determining geographic variation within a species. We quantified color differentiation and genetic divergence among 20 populations of the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) in lower Central America. Phylogenetic analyses revealed 5 well-supported mitochondrial DNA clades, and we infer from our phylogeny that geographic barriers have played a large role in structuring populations.
more » ... uring populations. Two phenotypic characters varied independently among isolated population groups: Flank coloration distinguished Caribbean from Pacific individuals, whereas leg coloration exhibited a more complex geographic pattern. We detected 3 generalized spatial patterns of genetic and phenotypic diversity: 1) phenotypic differentiation in the presence of historical connectivity, 2) phenotypic uniformity across genetically differentiated regions, and 3) codistribution of genetic and phenotypic characters. These patterns indicate that phenotypic diversification is highly regionalized and can result from spatial variation in localized adaptations, geographic isolation, genetic drift, and/or evolutionary stasis. Although the mode of selection underlying color variation was not the focal objective of this study, we discuss the possible roles of natural and sexual selection in mediating population differentiation. Our study underscores the fact that selection gradients vary across relatively small spatial scales, even in species that occupy relatively homogeneous environments.
doi:10.1093/jhered/esp041 pmid:19589848 fatcat:icj77owdova4nn5gcc2adwkc7m