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Landscape genetics for the empirical assessment of resistance surfaces: the European pine marten (Martes martes) as a target-species of a regional ecological network.

Ruiz-González A, Gurrutxaga M, Cushman SA, Madeira MJ, Randi E, Gómez-Moliner BJ - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Landscape genetics provides a particularly valuable framework to address the question of functional connectivity by providing a direct means to investigate the effects of landscape structure on gene flow.Our analysis indicated that the regional EN was among the most supported resistance models for the pine marten, but was not the best supported model.Our results suggest that the regional EN design being implemented in the Basque Country will effectively facilitate gene flow of forest dwelling species at regional scale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Systematics, Biogeography and Population Dynamics Research Group, Lascaray Research Center, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Conservation Genetics Laboratory, National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ISPRA, Ozzano dell'Emilia, Bologna, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Coherent ecological networks (EN) composed of core areas linked by ecological corridors are being developed worldwide with the goal of promoting landscape connectivity and biodiversity conservation. However, empirical assessment of the performance of EN designs is critical to evaluate the utility of these networks to mitigate effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. Landscape genetics provides a particularly valuable framework to address the question of functional connectivity by providing a direct means to investigate the effects of landscape structure on gene flow. The goals of this study are (1) to evaluate the landscape features that drive gene flow of an EN target species (European pine marten), and (2) evaluate the optimality of a regional EN design in providing connectivity for this species within the Basque Country (North Spain). Using partial Mantel tests in a reciprocal causal modeling framework we competed 59 alternative models, including isolation by distance and the regional EN. Our analysis indicated that the regional EN was among the most supported resistance models for the pine marten, but was not the best supported model. Gene flow of pine marten in northern Spain is facilitated by natural vegetation, and is resisted by anthropogenic landcover types and roads. Our results suggest that the regional EN design being implemented in the Basque Country will effectively facilitate gene flow of forest dwelling species at regional scale.

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Ecological network resistance map (EN) and LCP analysis between European pine marten individuals in the study area.Least cost paths (LCP) obtained between the 101 pine marten individuals in accordance with the EN resistance map, analogous to that used in the design of the corridors in the ecological network of the Basque Country (North Spain) [41]. Resistance values for each land use are indicated in brackets.
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pone-0110552-g001: Ecological network resistance map (EN) and LCP analysis between European pine marten individuals in the study area.Least cost paths (LCP) obtained between the 101 pine marten individuals in accordance with the EN resistance map, analogous to that used in the design of the corridors in the ecological network of the Basque Country (North Spain) [41]. Resistance values for each land use are indicated in brackets.

Mentions: The region of the Basque Country is located in the northern Iberian Peninsula (Fig. 1) within the Atlantic and Mediterranean biogeographical regions. It comprises an area of 7,235 km2 and has an average human population density of 298 inhabitants per square kilometer. Forests cover 28%, forestry plantations 29%, non-wooded mountains 24%, cultivated land 14%, and urban land and infrastructures 5.7% of the land area, respectively.


Landscape genetics for the empirical assessment of resistance surfaces: the European pine marten (Martes martes) as a target-species of a regional ecological network.

Ruiz-González A, Gurrutxaga M, Cushman SA, Madeira MJ, Randi E, Gómez-Moliner BJ - PLoS ONE (2014)

Ecological network resistance map (EN) and LCP analysis between European pine marten individuals in the study area.Least cost paths (LCP) obtained between the 101 pine marten individuals in accordance with the EN resistance map, analogous to that used in the design of the corridors in the ecological network of the Basque Country (North Spain) [41]. Resistance values for each land use are indicated in brackets.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4199733&req=5

pone-0110552-g001: Ecological network resistance map (EN) and LCP analysis between European pine marten individuals in the study area.Least cost paths (LCP) obtained between the 101 pine marten individuals in accordance with the EN resistance map, analogous to that used in the design of the corridors in the ecological network of the Basque Country (North Spain) [41]. Resistance values for each land use are indicated in brackets.
Mentions: The region of the Basque Country is located in the northern Iberian Peninsula (Fig. 1) within the Atlantic and Mediterranean biogeographical regions. It comprises an area of 7,235 km2 and has an average human population density of 298 inhabitants per square kilometer. Forests cover 28%, forestry plantations 29%, non-wooded mountains 24%, cultivated land 14%, and urban land and infrastructures 5.7% of the land area, respectively.

Bottom Line: Landscape genetics provides a particularly valuable framework to address the question of functional connectivity by providing a direct means to investigate the effects of landscape structure on gene flow.Our analysis indicated that the regional EN was among the most supported resistance models for the pine marten, but was not the best supported model.Our results suggest that the regional EN design being implemented in the Basque Country will effectively facilitate gene flow of forest dwelling species at regional scale.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Systematics, Biogeography and Population Dynamics Research Group, Lascaray Research Center, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Conservation Genetics Laboratory, National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ISPRA, Ozzano dell'Emilia, Bologna, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Coherent ecological networks (EN) composed of core areas linked by ecological corridors are being developed worldwide with the goal of promoting landscape connectivity and biodiversity conservation. However, empirical assessment of the performance of EN designs is critical to evaluate the utility of these networks to mitigate effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. Landscape genetics provides a particularly valuable framework to address the question of functional connectivity by providing a direct means to investigate the effects of landscape structure on gene flow. The goals of this study are (1) to evaluate the landscape features that drive gene flow of an EN target species (European pine marten), and (2) evaluate the optimality of a regional EN design in providing connectivity for this species within the Basque Country (North Spain). Using partial Mantel tests in a reciprocal causal modeling framework we competed 59 alternative models, including isolation by distance and the regional EN. Our analysis indicated that the regional EN was among the most supported resistance models for the pine marten, but was not the best supported model. Gene flow of pine marten in northern Spain is facilitated by natural vegetation, and is resisted by anthropogenic landcover types and roads. Our results suggest that the regional EN design being implemented in the Basque Country will effectively facilitate gene flow of forest dwelling species at regional scale.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus