Urbanization reduces genetic connectivity in bobcats (Lynx rufus) at both intra- and interpopulation spatial scales

Molecular Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Urbanization is a major factor driving habitat fragmentation and connectivity loss in wildlife. However, the impacts of urbanization on connectivity can vary among species and even populations due to differences in local landscape characteristics, and our ability to detect these relationships may depend on the spatial scale at which they are measured. Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are relatively sensitive to urbanization and the status of bobcat populations is an important indicator of connectivity in urban coastal southern California. We genotyped 271 bobcats at 13,520 SNP loci to conduct a replicated landscape resistance analysis in five genetically distinct populations. We tested urban and natural factors potentially influencing individual connectivity in each population separately, as well as study–wide. Overall, landscape genomic effects were most frequently detected at the study–wide spatial scale, with urban land cover (measured as impervious surface) having negative effects and topographic roughness having positive effects on gene flow. The negative effect of urban land cover on connectivity was also evident when populations were analyzed separately despite varying substantially in spatial area and the proportion of urban development, confirming a pervasive impact of urbanization largely independent of spatial scale. The effect of urban development was strongest in one population where stream habitat had been lost to development, suggesting that riparian corridors may help mitigate reduced connectivity in urbanizing areas. Our results demonstrate the importance of replicating landscape genetic analyses across populations and considering how landscape genetic effects may vary with spatial scale and local landscape structure.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Urbanization reduces genetic connectivity in bobcats (Lynx rufus) at both intra- and interpopulation spatial scales
Series title Molecular Ecology
DOI 10.1111/mec.15274
Volume 28
Issue 23
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 18 p.
First page 5068
Last page 5085
Country United States
State California
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