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Local adaptation of larval life history in the moor frog Rana arvalis across a landscape mosaic
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Population and Conservation Biology.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Growth rate is an important life history trait, which impacts fitness indirectly through its effect on the age and size at maturity, as well as directly through costs associated with accelerated growth such as increased predation risk. Genetic variation and plasticity in growth are widespread in nature, and local adaptation of growth rate may evolve due to divergent selection in different environments, for example related to predation risk, temperature or time constraints. I studied local adaptation of larval life history in the moor frog Rana arvalis, in a local network of ponds close to Uppsala. Local adaptation of growth rate and survival was studied in a reciprocal transplant experiment between ponds with different habitat characteristics. Meanwhile, differences among the populations in intrinsic growth, activity and response to predation were studied in a common garden experiment in the laboratory, where tadpoles were raised in the presence or absence of a predator and tested in direct predation trials. In the field, differences in growth among populations were found, independent of which pond the tadpoles were raised in, indicating that the ponds were similar growth environments. Survival differences among the populations depended on the pond, but local populations did not do better than foreign ones. In the laboratory, similar patterns in growth rate were found. All populations were highly plastic in their response to predation, having lower growth and activity in the predator-induced treatment and decreased mortality in the predation trials. Tadpole size was an important factor in escaping predation. One population clearly grew faster than the others in the field and in the lab, which could be explained in terms of its habitat of origin but was most likely related to the relatively late hatching of this population. Future studies are necessary concerning the possible costs of this accelerated growth and the importance of breeding phenology. Apart from the one differential population, I did not find evidence of local adaptation in the field or in the laboratory. The influence of habitat characteristics on tadpole life history was difficult to study, due to the limited number of ponds and many environmental differences among them. However, this thesis was a valuable pilot study concerning the design of experiments to study factors promoting and constraining local adaptation in landscape mosaics. An understanding of local adaptation at the scale at which gene flow occurs is important for the conservation of populations in fragmented landscapes as well as for the study of ecological speciation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 29 p.
Keyword [en]
rana arvalis, moor frog, growth rate, local adaptation, life history, landscape mosaic, predation
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181724OAI: diva2:557426
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-09-27 Created: 2012-09-27 Last updated: 2012-09-27Bibliographically approved

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