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Data from: Temporal genetic analysis of the endangered tidewater goby: metapopulation dynamics or drift in isolation?


Kinziger, Andrew P. et al. (2015), Data from: Temporal genetic analysis of the endangered tidewater goby: metapopulation dynamics or drift in isolation?, Dryad, Dataset,


Extinction and colonization dynamics are critical to understanding the evolution and conservation of metapopulations. However, traditional field studies of extinction–colonization are potentially fraught with detection bias and have rarely been validated. Here, we provide a comparison of molecular and field-based approaches for assessment of the extinction–colonization dynamics of tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi) in northern California. Our analysis of temporal genetic variation across 14 northern California tidewater goby populations failed to recover genetic change expected with extinction–colonization cycles. Similarly, analysis of site occupancy data from field studies (94 sites) indicated that extinction and colonization are very infrequent for our study populations. Comparison of the approaches indicated field data were subject to imperfect detection, and falsely implied extinction–colonization cycles in several instances. For northern California populations of tidewater goby, we interpret the strong genetic differentiation between populations and high degree of within-site temporal stability as consistent with a model of drift in the absence of migration, at least over the past 20–30 years. Our findings show that tidewater goby exhibit different population structures across their geographic range (extinction–colonization dynamics in the south vs. drift in isolation in the north). For northern populations, natural dispersal is too infrequent to be considered a viable approach for recolonizing extirpated populations, suggesting that species recovery will likely depend on artificial translocation in this region. More broadly, this work illustrates that temporal genetic analysis can be used in combination with field data to strengthen inference of extinction–colonization dynamics or as a stand-alone tool when field data are lacking.

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