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  1. Abstract

    Population dynamics within species at the edge of their distributional range, including the formation of genetic structure during range expansion, are difficult to study when they have had limited time to evolve. Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) have a patchy distribution at the northern edge of their range around the Puget Sound, Washington, where they almost exclusively occur on imperiled coastal habitats. The entire region was covered by Pleistocene glaciation as recently as 16,000 years ago, suggesting that populations must have colonized these habitats relatively recently. We tested for population differentiation across this landscape using genome-wide SNPs and morphological data. A time-calibrated species tree supports the hypothesis of a post-glacial establishment and subsequent population expansion into the region. Despite a strong signal for fine-scale population genetic structure across the Puget Sound with as many as 8–10 distinct subpopulations supported by the SNP data, there is minimal evidence for morphological differentiation at this same spatiotemporal scale. Historical demographic analyses suggest that populations expanded and diverged across the region as the Cordilleran Ice Sheet receded. Population isolation, lack of dispersal corridors, and strict habitat requirements are the key drivers of population divergence in this system. These same factors may prove detrimental tomore »the future persistence of populations as they cope with increasing shoreline development associated with urbanization.

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  2. Urban areas are dynamic ecological systems defined by interdependent biological, physical, and social components. The emergent structure and heterogeneity of urban landscapes drives biotic outcomes in these areas, and such spatial patterns are often attributed to the unequal stratification of wealth and power in human societies. Despite these patterns, few studies have effectively considered structural inequalities as drivers of ecological and evolutionary outcomes and have instead focused on indicator variables such as neighborhood wealth. In this analysis, we explicitly integrate ecology, evolution, and social processes to emphasize the relationships that bind social inequities—specifically racism—and biological change in urbanized landscapes. We draw on existing research to link racist practices, including residential segregation, to the heterogeneous patterns of flora and fauna observed by urban ecologists. In the future, urban ecology and evolution researchers must consider how systems of racial oppression affect the environmental factors that drive biological change in cities. Conceptual integration of the social and ecological sciences has amassed considerable scholarship in urban ecology over the past few decades, providing a solid foundation for incorporating environmental justice scholarship into urban ecological and evolutionary research. Such an undertaking is necessary to deconstruct urbanization’s biophysical patterns and processes, inform equitable and anti-racist initiativesmore »promoting justice in urban conservation, and strengthen community resilience to global environmental change.

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