loading page

Environmental variation predicts patterns of phenotypic and genomic variation in an African tropical forest frog
  • +13
  • Courtney Miller,
  • Geraud Tasse Taboue,
  • Eric Fokam,
  • Katy Morgan,
  • Ying Zhen,
  • Ryan Harrigan,
  • Vinh Le Underwood,
  • Kristen Ruegg,
  • Paul Sesink Clee,
  • Stephan Ntie,
  • Patrick Mickala,
  • Jean Mboumba,
  • Trevon Fuller,
  • Breda Zimkus,
  • Thomas Smith,
  • Nicola Anthony
Courtney Miller
University of New Orleans
Author Profile
Geraud Tasse Taboue
University of Buea
Author Profile
Eric Fokam
University of Buea
Author Profile
Katy Morgan
University of New Orleans
Author Profile
Ying Zhen
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Ryan Harrigan
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Vinh Le Underwood
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Kristen Ruegg
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Paul Sesink Clee
Drexel University
Author Profile
Stephan Ntie
Universite des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku
Author Profile
Patrick Mickala
Universite des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku
Author Profile
Jean Mboumba
Universite des Sciences et Techniques de Masuku
Author Profile
Trevon Fuller
University of California, Los Angeles
Author Profile
Breda Zimkus
Harvard University
Author Profile
Thomas Smith
University of California Los Angeles
Author Profile
Nicola Anthony
University of New Orleans
Author Profile

Abstract

Central African rainforests are predicted to be disproportionately affected by future climate change. How species will cope with these changes is unclear, but rapid environmental changes will likely impose strong selection pressures. Here we examined environmental drivers of phenotypic and genomic variation in the central African puddle frog (Phrynobatrachus auritus) to identify areas of elevated environmentally-associated turnover where populations may have the greatest capacity to adapt. We also compared current and future climate models to pinpoint areas of high genomic vulnerability where allele frequencies will have to shift the most in order to keep pace with future climate change. Analyses of body size, relative leg length, and head shape suggest that seasonal aspects of temperature and precipitation significantly influence phenotypic variation, whereas geographic distance and precipitation seasonality are the most important drivers of SNP allele frequency variation. However, neither landscape barriers nor the effects of past Pleistocene refugia had any influence on genomic differentiation. Most phenotypic and genomic differentiation coincided with key ecological gradients across the forest-savanna ecotone, montane areas and a coastal to interior rainfall gradient. Areas of greatest vulnerability were found in the lower Sanaga basin and southeastern region of Cameroon. In contrast with past conservation efforts that have focused on hotspots of species richness or endemism, our findings highlight the importance of preserving environmentally heterogeneous landscapes to preserve putatively adaptive variation and ongoing evolutionary processes in the face of climate change.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

31 Jul 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology
02 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned