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Genetic and phenotypic diversity of guppy population pre- and post-flood disturbance

Cite this dataset

Blondel, Léa (2020). Genetic and phenotypic diversity of guppy population pre- and post-flood disturbance [Dataset]. Dryad.


Rare extreme “black swan” disturbances can impact ecosystems in many ways, such as destroying habitats, depleting resources, and causing high mortality. In rivers, for instance, exceptional floods that occur infrequently (e.g., so-called “50-year floods”) can strongly impact the abundance of fishes and other aquatic organisms. Beyond such ecological effects, these floods could also impact intraspecific diversity by elevating genetic drift or dispersal and by imposing strong selection, which could then influence the population’s ability to recover from disturbance. And yet, natural systems might be resistant (show little change) or resilient (show rapid recovery) even to rare extreme events – perhaps as a result of selection due to past events. We considered these possibilities in two rivers where native guppies experienced two extreme floods - one in 2005 and another in 2016. For each river, we selected four sites and used archived “historical” samples to compare levels of genetic diversity and phenotypic mean traits before versus after floods. Genetic diversity was represented by 33 neutral microsatellite markers, and phenotypic diversity was represented by body length and male melanic (black) color. We found that genetic diversity and population structure was mostly resistant to even these extreme floods; whereas the larger impacts on phenotypic diversity were short-lived, suggesting additional resilience. We discuss the determinants of these two outcomes for guppies facing floods, and then consider the general implications for the resistance and resilience of intraspecific variation to black swan disturbances.


This dataset contains genotypes for 1221 guppies at 33 microsatellites. These fish were collected before (2004, 2016) and after (2005, 2017) disturbance.

The second spreadsheet contains the body length of the same individuals, with a few missing values.