Population Structure and Morphological Pattern of the Black-Spotted Pond Frog (Pelophylax nigromaculatus) Inhabiting Watershed Areas of the Geum River in South Korea
Black-spotted pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculatus), widely distributed in East Asia, can be suitably used for the study of population genetic patterns and ecosystem monitoring. To systematically manage, conserve, and study this species, it is necessary to understand its habitat range. We analyzed the genetic and morphological range of black-spotted pond frog populations within a watershed of the Geum River, one of the main rivers in South Korea. We genotyped the frogs based on seven
... lite loci and defined the skull shape based on landmark-based geometric morphometrics. One watershed area was divided into 14 sub-watershed areas, the smallest unit of the Geum River basin. The genetic structure of frogs among the 14 sub-watershed areas did not differ significantly, nor was correlated with geographic distance. Therefore, frogs within these watershed areas constitute a single population. Morphologically, they differed between some sub-watershed areas, but morphological distance did not correlate with genetic distance but rather with geographic distance. This morphological change differs depending on the environmental gradient rather than the genetic structure. As a single population, frogs in this watershed area need to be managed in an integrated way. We suggest that the identification of response and adaptation by population genetics must be compared across and beyond the watershed range.