Spatial heterogeneity in landscape structure influences dispersal and genetic structure: Empirical evidence from a grasshopper in an agricultural landscape

Bertrand Gauffre, Sophie Mallez, Marie Pierre Chapuis, Raphael Leblois, Isabelle Litrico, Sabrina Delaunay, Isabelle Badenhausser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dispersal may be strongly influenced by landscape and habitat characteristics that could either enhance or restrict movements of organisms. Therefore, spatial heterogeneity in landscape structure could influence gene flow and the spatial structure of populations. In the past decades, agricultural intensification has led to the reduction in grassland surfaces, their fragmentation and intensification. As these changes are not homogeneously distributed in landscapes, they have resulted in spatial heterogeneity with generally less intensified hedged farmland areas remaining alongside streams and rivers. In this study, we assessed spatial pattern of abundance and population genetic structure of a flightless grasshopper species, Pezotettix giornae, based on the surveys of 363 grasslands in a 430-km agricultural landscape of western France. Data were analysed using geostatistics and landscape genetics based on microsatellites markers and computer simulations. Results suggested that small-scale intense dispersal allows this species to survive in intensive agricultural landscapes. A complex spatial genetic structure related to landscape and habitat characteristics was also detected. Two P. giornae genetic clusters bisected by a linear hedged farmland were inferred from clustering analyses. This linear hedged farmland was characterized by high hedgerow and grassland density as well as higher grassland temporal stability that were suspected to slow down dispersal. Computer simulations demonstrated that a linear-shaped landscape feature limiting dispersal could be detected as a barrier to gene flow and generate the observed genetic pattern. This study illustrates the relevance of using computer simulations to test hypotheses in landscape genetics studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1713-1728
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume24
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • Pezotettix giornae
  • clustering methods
  • computer simulations
  • dispersal
  • landscape genetics
  • microsatellites

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