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Contaminant-driven genetic erosion: fitness costs and consequences on the viability of wild populations of amphibians

AuthorsLopes, Isabel; Martínez-Solano, Íñigo ; Ortiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E.
Issue Date2013
Citation23rd SETAC Europe Annual Meeting (2013)
AbstractIncreasing emphasis has been assigned to evaluate potential impacts of chemical contamination on the genetic diversity of natural populations. Within this process is essential to understand long-term ecological effects that may follow a loss of genetic diversity. At present, limited empirical evidence exists supporting the general view that genetic erosion leads to negative evolutionary side effects, and many knowledge gaps still exist. As populations are regarded as the minimum units for species conservation and environmental protection, then accurate understanding of how contaminants may influence their genetic diversity, and the associated costs and consequences on their evolutionary potential is mandatory for a better conservation of biodiversity. Currently, most of the published studies addressing this issue fails some of the permits to establish causality between population genetic effects and contamination; some only monitor neutral markers that may fail to detect directional selective pressures, and only few address the impacts that loss of genetic diversity can have on the viability of populations. Also, most work has been focused on invertebrates, but the study of these processes is also extremely important in vertebrate species, as usually they are constituted by populations with a much smaller number of individuals, and, thus, the effects of contaminants in population genetics may be more exacerbated. Accordingly, this project aims at assessing the occurrence of contaminant-driven genetic erosion in natural populations of amphibians, possible fitness costs and consequences in the viability of these populations under scenarios of future environmental changes. To achieve this goal, three specific objectives were delineated, to evaluate if: (i) metal contamination led to genetic erosion in exposed populations; (ii) an increased resistance to metals is associated with fitness costs; (iii) resistance to metals is associated with an increased susceptibility to other stressors. To tackle these objectives, two study sites, with a similar history of metal contamination, were selected: Mina de São Domingos (SE Portugal) and Valle de Alcudia (SW Spain). At both mines, metal contamination is reported to have been occurring for more than a century, and it is expected that amphibian populations inhabiting these sites have had multi-generational exposure to chemical contamination, and thus the occurrence of genetic erosion due to directional selection could have occurred.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado al 23rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, celebrado en Glasgow (Escocia) del 12 al 16 de mayo de 2013.-- et al.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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