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  1. Abstract

    As anthropogenic activities are increasing the frequency and severity of droughts, understanding whether and how fast populations can adapt to sudden changes in their hydric environment is critically important. Here, we capitalize on the introduction of the Cuban brown anole lizard (Anolis sagrei) in North America to assess the contemporary evolution of a widespread terrestrial vertebrate to an abrupt climatic niche shift. We characterized hydric balance in 30 populations along a large climatic gradient. We found that while evaporative and cutaneous water loss varied widely, there was no climatic cline, as would be expected under adaptation. Furthermore, the skin of lizards from more arid environments was covered with smaller scales, a condition thought to limit water conservation and thus be maladaptive. In contrast to environmental conditions, genome-averaged ancestry was a significant predictor of water loss. This was reinforced by our genome-wide association analyses, which indicated a significant ancestry-specific effect for water loss at one locus. Thus, our study indicates that the water balance of invasive brown anoles is dictated by an environment-independent introduction and hybridization history and highlights genetic interactions or genetic correlations as factors that might forestall adaptation. Alternative water conservation strategies, including behavioral mitigation, may influence the brown anole invasion success and require future examination.

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  2. Abstract

    Introductions of invasive species to new environments often result in rapid rates of trait evolution. While in some cases these evolutionary transitions are adaptive and driven by natural selection, they can also result from patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation associated with the invasion history. Here, we examined the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), a widespread invasive lizard for which genetic data have helped trace the sources of non‐native populations. We focused on the dewlap, a complex signalling trait known to be subject to multiple selective pressures. We measured dewlap reflectance, pattern and size in 30 non‐native populations across the southeastern United States. As well, we quantified environmental variables known to influence dewlap signal effectiveness, such as canopy openness. Further, we used genome‐wide data to estimate genetic ancestry, perform association mapping and test for signatures of selection. We found that among‐population variation in dewlap characteristics was best explained by genetic ancestry. This result was supported by genome‐wide association mapping, which identified several ancestry‐specific loci associated with dewlap traits. Despite the strong imprint of this aspect of the invasion history on dewlap variation, we also detected significant relationships between dewlap traits and local environmental conditions. However, we found limited evidence that dewlap‐associated genetic variants have been subject to selection. Our study emphasizes the importance of genetic ancestry and admixture in shaping phenotypes during biological invasion, while leaving the role of selection unresolved, likely due to the polygenic genetic architecture of dewlaps and selection acting on many genes of small effect.

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  3. Abstract

    Invasive species can impact native populations through competition, predation, habitat alteration, and disease transmission, but also genetically through hybridization. Potential outcomes of hybridization span the continuum from extinction to hybrid speciation and can be further complicated by anthropogenic habitat disturbance. Hybridization between the native green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) and a morphologically similar invader (A. porcatus) in south Florida provides an ideal opportunity to study interspecific admixture across a heterogeneous landscape. We used reduced‐representation sequencing to describe introgression in this hybrid system and to test for a relationship between urbanization and non‐native ancestry. Our findings indicate that hybridization between green anole lineages was probably a limited, historic event, producing a hybrid population characterized by a diverse continuum of ancestry proportions. Genomic cline analyses revealed rapid introgression and disproportionate representation of non‐native alleles at many loci and no evidence for reproductive isolation between parental species. Three loci were associated with urban habitat characteristics; urbanization and non‐native ancestry were positively correlated, although this relationship did not remain significant when accounting for spatial nonindependence. Ultimately, our study demonstrates the persistence of non‐native genetic material even in the absence of ongoing immigration, indicating that selection favouring non‐native alleles can override the demographic limitation of low propagule pressure. We also note that not all outcomes of admixture between native and non‐native species should be considered intrinsically negative. Hybridization with ecologically robust invaders can lead to adaptive introgression, which may facilitate the long‐term survival of native populations otherwise unable to adapt to anthropogenically mediated global change.

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  4. Abstract

    Research conducted during the past two decades has demonstrated that biological invasions are excellent models of rapid evolution. Even so, characteristics of invasive populations such as a short time for recombination to assemble optimal combinations of alleles may occasionally limit adaptation to new environments. Here, we investigated such genetic constraints to adaptation in the invasive brown anole (Anolis sagrei)—a tropical ectotherm that was introduced to the southeastern United States, a region with a much colder climate than in its native Caribbean range. We examined thermal physiology for 30 invasive populations and tested for a climatic cline in cold tolerance. Also, we used genomics to identify mechanisms that may limit adaptation. We found no support for a climatic cline, indicating that thermal tolerance did not shift adaptively. Concomitantly, population genomic results were consistent with the occurrence of recombination cold spots that comprise more than half of the genome and maintain long‐range associations among alleles in invasive populations. These genomic regions overlap with both candidate thermal tolerance loci that we identified using a standard genome‐wide association test. Moreover, we found that recombination cold spots do not have a large contribution to population differentiation in the invasive range, contrary to observations in the native range. We suggest that limited recombination is constraining the contribution of large swaths of the genome to adaptation in invasive brown anoles. Our study provides an example of evolutionary stasis during invasion and highlights the possibility that reduced recombination occasionally slows down adaptation in invasive populations.

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  5. Abstract

    Rapid technological improvements are democratizing access to high quality, chromosome-scale genome assemblies. No longer the domain of only the most highly studied model organisms, now non-traditional and emerging model species can be genome-enabled using a combination of sequencing technologies and assembly software. Consequently, old ideas built on sparse sampling across the tree of life have recently been amended in the face of genomic data drawn from a growing number of high-quality reference genomes. Arguably the most valuable are those long-studied species for which much is already known about their biology; what many term emerging model species. Here, we report a highly complete chromosome-scale genome assembly for the brown anole,Anolis sagrei– a lizard species widely studied across a variety of disciplines and for which a high-quality reference genome was long overdue. This assembly exceeds the vast majority of existing reptile and snake genomes in contiguity (N50 = 253.6 Mb) and annotation completeness. Through the analysis of this genome and population resequence data, we examine the history of repetitive element accumulation, identify the X chromosome, and propose a hypothesis for the evolutionary history of fusions between autosomes and the X that led to the sex chromosomes ofA. sagrei.

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  6. Hybridization is among the evolutionary mechanisms most frequently hypothesized to drive the success of invasive species, in part because hybrids are common in invasive populations. One explanation for this pattern is that biological invasions coincide with a change in selection pressures that limit hybridization in the native range. To investigate this possibility, we studied the introduction of the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in the southeastern United States. We find that native populations are highly genetically structured. In contrast, all invasive populations show evidence of hybridization among native-range lineages. Temporal sampling in the invasive range spanning 15 y showed that invasive genetic structure has stabilized, indicating that large-scale contemporary gene flow is limited among invasive populations and that hybrid ancestry is maintained. Additionally, our results are consistent with hybrid persistence in invasive populations resulting from changes in natural selection that occurred during invasion. Specifically, we identify a large-effect X chromosome locus associated with variation in limb length, a well-known adaptive trait in anoles, and show that this locus is often under selection in the native range, but rarely so in the invasive range. Moreover, we find that the effect size of alleles at this locus on limb length is much reduced in hybrids among divergent lineages, consistent with epistatic interactions. Thus, in the native range, epistasis manifested in hybrids can strengthen extrinsic postmating isolation. Together, our findings show how a change in natural selection can contribute to an increase in hybridization in invasive populations.

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