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Habitat Preference in the Bombina Hybrid Zone in Croatia

Catriona J. MacCallum, Beate Nürnberger, N. H. Barton and J. M. Szymura
Evolution
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 227-239
DOI: 10.2307/2410938
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410938
Page Count: 13
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Habitat Preference in the Bombina Hybrid Zone in Croatia
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Abstract

This paper demonstrates the effect of habitat heterogeneity and a habitat preference on the genetic structure of a hybrid zone between the toads Bombina bombina and B. variegata (Anura: Discoglossidae); 1613 toads from 85 sites across a transect near Pešćenica, Croatia, were scored for five unlinked diagnostic allozyme markers. These were found to be largely concordant. Aside from minor systematic deviations, there was little variance in allele frequency among loci within sites. Yet the allele frequencies did not follow a smooth cline, but formed a mosaic in the center, such that neighboring sites could differ markedly in their enzyme score. A detailed ecological survey revealed a correlation between this pattern and habitat. In keeping with the typical breeding sites of the parental taxa, B. bombina-like hybrids were found more often in ponds, whereas B. variegata-like hybrids were more common in puddles. In addition, there was significant heterozygote deficit (FIS) and strong linkage disequilibrium (R), both of which were stronger on the B. bombina side of the transect, and stronger in puddles than ponds. Mark-recapture data showed: (1) that the animals disperse beyond the scale of the habitat pattern; (2) frequent turn-over of individuals within sites; and (3) nonrandom movement between two sites of different habitat type. We conclude that an active habitat preference must contribute to the observed association between marker alleles and habitat. As a consequence, there is incomplete mixing of the two gene pools, which could explain the high level of FIS and R. The asymmetry in these parameters may reflect asymmetry in the preference or in the distribution of habitats across the zone. We discuss the implications of habitat preference for the dynamics of hybrid zones.

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