Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Fire does not strongly affect genetic diversity or structure of a common treefrog in the endangered Florida scrub

Citation

Robertson, Jeanne M.; Fitzpatrick, Sarah W.; Rothermel, Betsie B.; Chan, Lauren M. (2017), Data from: Fire does not strongly affect genetic diversity or structure of a common treefrog in the endangered Florida scrub, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.33pm5

Abstract

Fire regimes influence natural populations of organisms in diverse ways, via direct effects on population dynamics as well as indirect effects on habitat and ecosystem processes. Although many amphibian species have evolved to persist in fire-dependent ecosystems, the effects of fire on the genetic diversity of amphibian populations remain relatively unexplored. We examined how different aspects of fire history relate to population genetic diversity and structure of an abundant anuran, Hyla femoralis, in a large, intact area of Florida scrub containing hundreds of seasonally inundated ponds. Specifically, we assessed the overall population genetic structure and examined whether variation in time since fire, fire intensity, or historical fire frequency at breeding sites explained spatial variation in genetic diversity. Based on our sampling of 17 breeding aggregations within the 2,100-ha study area, neither recent nor frequent fire reduce genetic diversity or restrict connectivity among ponds for H. femoralis. Overall, mean effective population sizes were large (average range = 68–572). We detected a positive trend between effective population size (Ne) and average intensity of the most-recent fire, with this factor explaining 42% of the variation in Ne. Our results contrast with previous studies that consistently demonstrate strong relationships between fire history and population genetic structure of scrub-associated lizard species, suggesting that H. femoralis is resilient to a wide range of fire regimes. More generally, our study contributes to understanding the roles of life-history characteristics and environmental unpredictability in shaping organisms’ responses to fire.

Usage Notes

Location

peninsular Florida
Florida scrub