skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, July 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, July 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Genotype–environment associations across spatial scales reveal the importance of putative adaptive genetic variation in divergence

Identifying areas of high evolutionary potential is a judicious strategy for developing conservation priorities in the face of environmental change. For wide‐ranging species occupying heterogeneous environments, the evolutionary forces that shape distinct populations can vary spatially. Here, we investigate patterns of genomic variation and genotype–environment associations in the hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus), a North American songbird, at broad (across the breeding range) and narrow spatial scales (at a hybrid zone). We begin by building a genoscape or map of genetic variation across the breeding range and find five distinct genetic clusters within the species, with the greatest variation occurring in the western portion of the range. Genotype–environment association analyses indicate higher allelic turnover in the west than in the east, with measures of temperature surfacing as key predictors of putative adaptive genomic variation rangewide. Since broad patterns detected across a species' range represent the aggregate of many locally adapted populations, we investigate whether our broadscale analysis is consistent with a finer scale analysis. We find that top rangewide temperature‐associated loci vary in their clinal patterns (e.g., steep clines vs. fixed allele frequencies) across a hybrid zone in British Columbia, suggesting that the environmental predictors and the associated candidate loci identified in the rangewide analysis are of variable importance in this particular region. However, two candidate loci exhibit strong concordance with the temperature gradient in British Columbia, suggesting a potential role for temperature‐related barriers to gene flow and/or temperature‐driven ecological selection in maintaining putative local adaptation. This study demonstrates how patterns identified at the broad (macrogeographic) scale can be validated by investigating genotype–environment correlations at the local (microgeographic) scale. Furthermore, our results highlight the importance of considering the spatial distribution of putative adaptive variation when assessing population‐level sensitivity to climate change and other stressors.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Evolutionary Applications
Medium: X Size: p. 1390-1407
p. 1390-1407
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Understanding how the environment shapes genetic variation provides critical insight about the evolution of local adaptation in natural populations. At multiple spatial scales and multiple geographic contexts within a single species, such information could address a number of fundamental questions about the scale of local adaptation and whether or not the same loci are involved at different spatial scales or geographic contexts. We used landscape genomic approaches from three local elevational transects and rangewide sampling to (a) identify genetic variation underlying local adaptation to environmental gradients in the California endemic oak,Quercus lobata; (b) examine whether putatively adaptive SNPs show signatures of selection at multiple spatial scales; and (c) map putatively adaptive variation to assess the scale and pattern of local adaptation. Of over 10 k single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) generated with genotyping‐by‐sequencing, we found signatures of natural selection by climate or local environment at over 600 SNPs (536 loci), some at multiple spatial scales across multiple analyses. Candidate SNPs identified with gene–environment tests (LFMM) at the rangewide scale also showed elevated associations with climate variables compared to the background at both rangewide and elevational transect scales with gradient forest analysis. Some loci overlap with those detected in other oak species, raising the question of whether the same loci might be involved in local climate adaptation in different congeneric species that inhabit different geographic contexts. Mapping landscape patterns of adaptive versus background genetic variation identified regions of marked local adaptation and suggests nonlinear association of candidate SNPs and environmental variables. Taken together, our results offer robust evidence for novel candidate genes for local climate adaptation at multiple spatial scales.

    more » « less
  2. Global climate change has resulted in geographic range shifts of flora and fauna at a global scale. Extreme environments, like the Arctic, are seeing some of the most pronounced changes. This region covers 14% of the Earth’s land area, and while many arctic species are widespread, understanding ecotypic variation at the genomic level will be important for elucidating how range shifts will affect ecological processes. Tussock cottongrass ( Eriophorum vaginatum L.) is a foundation species of the moist acidic tundra, whose potential decline due to competition from shrubs may affect ecosystem stability in the Arctic. We used double-digest Restriction Site-Associated DNA sequencing to identify genomic variation in 273 individuals of E. vaginatum from 17 sites along a latitudinal gradient in north central Alaska. These sites have been part of 30 + years of ecological research and are inclusive of a region that was part of the Beringian refugium. The data analyses included genomic population structure, demographic models, and genotype by environment association. Genome-wide SNP investigation revealed environmentally associated variation and population structure across the sampled range of E. vaginatum , including a genetic break between populations north and south of treeline. This structure is likely the result of subrefugial isolation, contemporary isolation by resistance, and adaptation. Forty-five candidate loci were identified with genotype-environment association (GEA) analyses, with most identified genes related to abiotic stress. Our results support a hypothesis of limited gene flow based on spatial and environmental factors for E. vaginatum , which in combination with life history traits could limit range expansion of southern ecotypes northward as the tundra warms. This has implications for lower competitive attributes of northern plants of this foundation species likely resulting in changes in ecosystem productivity. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Aquatic ectotherms are predicted to harbour genomic signals of local adaptation resulting from selective pressures driven by the strong influence of climate conditions on body temperature. We investigated local adaptation in redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) using genome scans for 547 samples from 11 populations across a wide range of habitats and thermal gradients in the interior Columbia River. We estimated allele frequencies for millions of single nucleotide polymorphism loci (SNPs) across populations using low‐coverage whole genome resequencing, and used population structure outlier analyses to identify genomic regions under divergent selection between populations. Twelve genomic regions showed signatures of local adaptation, including two regions associated with genes known to influence migration and developmental timing in salmonids (GREB1L,ROCK1,SIX6). Genotype–environment association analyses indicated that diurnal temperature variation was a strong driver of local adaptation, with signatures of selection driven primarily by divergence of two populations in the northern extreme of the subspecies range. We also found evidence for adaptive differences between high‐elevation desert vs. montane habitats at a smaller geographical scale. Finally, we estimated vulnerability of redband trout to future climate change using ecological niche modelling and genetic offset analyses under two climate change scenarios. These analyses predicted substantial habitat loss and strong genetic shifts necessary for adaptation to future habitats, with the greatest vulnerability predicted for high‐elevation desert populations. Our results provide new insight into the complexity of local adaptation in salmonids, and important predictions regarding future responses of redband trout to climate change.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Ecogeographic rules denote spatial patterns in phenotype and environment that may reflect local adaptation as well as a species’ capacity to adapt to change. To identify genes underlying Bergmann’s Rule, which posits that spatial correlations of body mass and temperature reflect natural selection and local adaptation in endotherms, we compare 79 genomes from nine song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) subspecies that vary ~300% in body mass (17 − 50 g). Comparing large- and smaller-bodied subspecies revealed 9 candidate genes in three genomic regions associated with body mass. Further comparisons to the five smallest subspecies endemic to California revealed eight SNPs within four of the candidate genes (GARNL3,RALGPS1,ANGPTL2, andCOL15A1) associated with body mass and varying as predicted by Bergmann’s Rule. Our results support the hypothesis that co-variation in environment, body mass and genotype reflect the influence of natural selection on local adaptation and a capacity for contemporary evolution in this diverse species.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Hydrologic regimes and water temperatures are primary predictors of freshwater species occurrence. Although these variables have been demonstrated to be important in regulating species diversity at particular locations, whether species occurrences across lotic habitats within a single, relatively small watershed can predict the full geographic extent of a species is unclear. We use river reach estimates of streamflow and water temperature derived from a watershed‐scale hydrologic model, coupled with body size measures, to investigate whether the type and variability of thermal and hydrologic habitat used by fish species within the Mobile River Basin (MRB) can predict the overall geographic extent of occurrence (GEO) for these taxa. Locality data for 108 species of fishes within MRB, one of the most ecologically diverse watersheds in the United States, were intersected with streamflow and water temperature estimates to characterize minimum and maximum streamflow and water temperature conditions and thermal breadth (range of thermal conditions) occupied by each species. Among all species, variation in GEO was associated with variation in thermal breadth and body size. Thermal variables were also important predictors of variation in GEO among Cyprinidae. Flow variables were important predictors of variation in GEO for Centrarchidae, Ictaluridae, and Percidae and withinEtheostomaandPercina. Results generally indicate that species with large body size, relatively broad thermal tolerances, or preference for relatively high discharge environments tend to exhibit broader distributions across North America, yet these relationships vary among taxonomic groups.

    more » « less