Data from: A test of the central-marginal hypothesis using population genetics and ecological niche modelling in an endemic salamander (Ambystoma barbouri)
Micheletti, Steven J.; Storfer, Andrew (2015), Data from: A test of the central-marginal hypothesis using population genetics and ecological niche modelling in an endemic salamander (Ambystoma barbouri), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b59qj
The central-marginal hypothesis (CMH) predicts that population size, genetic diversity, and genetic connectivity are highest at the core and decrease near the edges of species’ geographic distributions. We provide a test of the CMH using three replicated core-to-edge transects that encompass nearly the entire geographic range of the endemic streamside salamander (Ambystoma barbouri). We confirmed that the mapped core of the distribution was the most suitable habitat using ecological niche modelling (ENM) and via genetic estimates of effective population sizes. As predicted by the CMH, we found statistical support for decreased genetic diversity, effective population size, and genetic connectivity from core to edge in western and northern transects, yet not along a southern transect. Based on our niche model, habitat suitability is lower towards the southern range edge, presumably leading to conflicting core-to-edge genetic patterns. These results suggest that multiple processes may influence a species’ distribution based on the heterogeneity of habitat across a species’ range and that replicated sampling may be needed to accurately test the CMH. Our work also emphasizes the importance of identifying the geographic range core with methods other than using the Euclidean center on a map, which may help to explain discrepancies among other empirical tests of the CMH. Assessing core to edge population genetic patterns across an entire species’ range accompanied with ENM can inform our general understanding of the mechanisms leading to species’ geographic range limits.