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Conservation genetics of extremely isolated urban populations of the northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) in New York City

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Author(s): Jason Munshi-South | Yana Zak | Ellen Pehek

Journal: PeerJ
ISSN 2167-8359

Volume: 1;
Start page: e64;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Genetic variation | Stream salamander | Plethodontidae | Urban ecology | Microsatellite | Genetic structure | Urban evolutionary biology

ABSTRACT
Urbanization is a major cause of amphibian decline. Stream-dwelling plethodontid salamanders are particularly susceptible to urbanization due to declining water quality and hydrological changes, but few studies have examined these taxa in cities. The northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) was once common in the New York City metropolitan area, but has substantially declined throughout the region in recent decades. We used five tetranucleotide microsatellite loci to examine population differentiation, genetic variation, and bottlenecks among five remnant urban populations of dusky salamanders in NYC. These genetic measures provide information on isolation, prevalence of inbreeding, long-term prospects for population persistence, and potential for evolutionary responses to future environmental change. All populations were genetically differentiated from each other, and the most isolated populations in Manhattan have maintained very little genetic variation (i.e.
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