Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)

Steinfartz S, Glaberman S, Lanterbecq D, Marquez C, Rassmann K, Caccone A (2007)
PLoS One 2(12): e1285.

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Abstract
The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of climatic disturbance, impacting the dynamics of ecosystems worldwide. Recent models predict that human-generated rises in green-house gas levels will cause an increase in the strength and frequency of El Nino warming events in the next several decades, highlighting the need to understand the potential biological consequences of increased ENSO activity. Studies have focused on the ecological and demographic implications of El Nino in a range of organisms, but there have been few systematic attempts to measure the impact of these processes on genetic diversity in populations. Here, we evaluate whether the 1997-1998 El Nino altered the genetic composition of Galapagos marine iguana populations from eleven islands, some of which experienced mortality rates of up to 90% as a result of El Nino warming. Specifically, we measured the temporal variation in microsatellite allele frequencies and mitochondrial DNA diversity (mtDNA) in samples collected before (1991/1993) and after (2004) the El Nino event. Based on microsatellite data, only one island (Marchena) showed signatures of a genetic bottleneck, where the harmonic mean of the effective population size (N(e)) was estimated to be less than 50 individuals during the period between samplings. Substantial decreases in mtDNA variation between time points were observed in populations from just two islands (Marchena and Genovesa). Our results suggests that, for the majority of islands, a single, intense El Nino event did not reduce marine iguana populations to the point where substantial neutral genetic diversity was lost. In the case of Marchena, simultaneous changes to both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation may also be the result of a volcanic eruption on the island in 1991. Therefore, studies that seek to evaluate the genetic impact of El Nino must also consider the confounding or potentially synergistic effect of other environmental and biological forces shaping populations.
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Steinfartz S, Glaberman S, Lanterbecq D, Marquez C, Rassmann K, Caccone A. Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). PLoS One. 2007;2(12): e1285.
Steinfartz, S., Glaberman, S., Lanterbecq, D., Marquez, C., Rassmann, K., & Caccone, A. (2007). Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). PLoS One, 2(12): e1285.
Steinfartz, S., Glaberman, S., Lanterbecq, D., Marquez, C., Rassmann, K., and Caccone, A. (2007). Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). PLoS One 2:e1285.
Steinfartz, S., et al., 2007. Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). PLoS One, 2(12): e1285.
S. Steinfartz, et al., “Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)”, PLoS One, vol. 2, 2007, : e1285.
Steinfartz, S., Glaberman, S., Lanterbecq, D., Marquez, C., Rassmann, K., Caccone, A.: Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). PLoS One. 2, : e1285 (2007).
Steinfartz, Sebastian, Glaberman, Scott, Lanterbecq, Deborah, Marquez, Cruz, Rassmann, Kornelia, and Caccone, Adalgisa. “Genetic impact of a severe El Nino event on Galapagos marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)”. PLoS One 2.12 (2007): e1285.
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6 Citations in Europe PMC

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