Infection dynamics, dispersal, and adaptation: understanding the lack of recovery in a remnant frog population following a disease outbreak

McKnight, Donald T., Carr, Leah J., Bower, Deborah S., Schwarzkopf, Lin, Alford, Ross A., and Zenger, Kyall R. (2020) Infection dynamics, dispersal, and adaptation: understanding the lack of recovery in a remnant frog population following a disease outbreak. Heredity, 125. pp. 110-123.

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Emerging infectious diseases can cause dramatic declines in wildlife populations. Sometimes, these declines are followed by recovery, but many populations do not recover. Studying differential recovery patterns may yield important information for managing disease-afflicted populations and facilitating population recoveries. In the late 1980s, a chytridiomycosis outbreak caused multiple frog species in Australia's Wet Tropics to decline. Populations of some species (e.g., Litoria nannotis) subsequently recovered, while others (e.g., Litoria dayi) did not. We examined the population genetics and current infection status of L. dayi, to test several hypotheses regarding the failure of its populations to recover: (1) a lack of individual dispersal abilities has prevented recolonization of previously occupied locations, (2) a loss of genetic variation has resulted in limited adaptive potential, and (3) L. dayi is currently adapting to chytridiomycosis. We found moderate-to-high levels of gene flow and diversity (Fst range: <0.01-0.15; minor allele frequency (MAF): 0.192-0.245), which were similar to previously published levels for recovered L. nannotis populations. This suggests that dispersal ability and genetic diversity do not limit the ability of L. dayi to recolonize upland sites. Further, infection intensity and prevalence increased with elevation, suggesting that chytridiomycosis is still limiting the elevational range of L. dayi. Outlier tests comparing infected and uninfected individuals consistently identified 18 markers as putatively under selection, and several of those markers matched genes that were previously implicated in infection. This suggests that L. dayi has genetic variation for genes that affect infection dynamics and may be undergoing adaptation.

Item ID: 63493
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2540
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Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Genetics Society 2020
Funders: Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA), James Cook University (JCU) College of Science and Engineering
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310510 Molecular evolution @ 70%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310914 Vertebrate biology @ 15%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 15%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180303 Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity @ 100%
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