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Data from: Landscape genetics of leaf-toed geckos in the tropical dry forest of northern Mexico

Cite this dataset

Blair, Christopher; Jiménez Arcos, Victor H.; Mendez de la Cruz, Fausto R.; Murphy, Robert W. (2013). Data from: Landscape genetics of leaf-toed geckos in the tropical dry forest of northern Mexico [Dataset]. Dryad.


Habitat fragmentation due to both natural and anthropogenic forces continues to threaten the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity. This is of particular concern in tropical regions that are experiencing elevated rates of habitat loss. Although less well-studied than tropical rain forests, tropical dry forests (TDF) contain an enormous diversity of species and continue to be threatened by anthropogenic activities including grazing and agriculture. However, little is known about the processes that shape genetic connectivity in species inhabiting TDF ecosystems. We adopt a landscape genetic approach to understanding functional connectivity for leaf-toed geckos (Phyllodactylus tuberculosus) at multiple sites near the northernmost limit of this ecosystem at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Traditional analyses of population genetics are combined with multivariate GIS-based landscape analyses to test hypotheses on the potential drivers of spatial genetic variation. Moderate levels of within-population diversity and substantial levels of population differentiation are revealed by FST and Dest. Analyses using STRUCTURE suggest the occurrence of from 2 to 9 genetic clusters depending on the model used. Landscape genetic analysis suggests that forest cover, stream connectivity, undisturbed habitat, slope, and minimum temperature of the coldest period explain more genetic variation than do simple Euclidean distances. Additional landscape genetic studies throughout TDF habitat are required to understand species-specific responses to landscape and climate change and to identify common drivers. We urge researchers interested in using multivariate distance methods to test for, and report, significant correlations among predictor matrices that can impact results, particularly when adopting least-cost path approaches. Further investigation into the use of information theoretic approaches for model selection is also warranted.

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