Tracing genealogical relationships in a common toad (Bufo bufo) population

Coles, Robert; Reading, Christopher J.; Jehle, Robert. 2012 Tracing genealogical relationships in a common toad (Bufo bufo) population. [Lecture] In: 7th World Congress of Herpetology, Vancouver, Canada, 8-14 Aug 2012. (Unpublished)

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Over the last decades, long-term studies on pond-breeding amphibians have revealed vital insights into the dynamics of populations, contributing to natural history knowledge as well as producing a wealth of conservation-relevant information. However, in contrast to birds and mammals, for example, amphibian population studies only rarely capture information based on genealogical relationships among individuals. As a consequence, we only have very limited knowledge about individual fitness measures such as lifetime reproductive success and the consequences of such variation on the linkage between generations of amphibians in the wild. Here, we make use of an existing long-term study on the common toad ( Bufo bufo ) in southern England (Dorset), and employ genetic markers to identify parent-offspring relationships among individuals sampled in years that represent two successive generations (2004/2005/2006 and 2008/2009). To generate the cross-generational genealogies, about 1000 individual toads were genotyped using PCR amplification of eight microsatellite loci. Parentage assignments were achieved using the software Colony, and parental pairs, identified through genetic information, were compared with field observations of amplexed pairs. Preliminary results reveal that at least one parent could be assigned to approximately 40% of offspring, and that about half of the parent pairs identified with genetic markers matched with amplexed pairs identified in the field. Apart from shedding light on the genetic mating system, the obtained pedigree information will also be invaluable in the identification of a possible hereditary basis for an observed decrease in female body condition and fecundity correlated to increased environmental temperatures. Further DNA samples collected in 1983 will also enable a comparison of effective numbers of breeders and the effective population size before and after the observed decline in female fitness.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
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Date made live: 04 Sep 2012 10:34 +0 (UTC)

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