Inferred vs realized patterns of gene flow: an analysis of population structure in the Andros Island Rock Iguana.
Knapp, Charles R.
Wallace, Lisa E.
Welch, Mark E.
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Ecological data, the primary source of information on patterns and rates of migration, can be integrated with genetic data to more accurately describe the realized connectivity between geographically isolated demes. In this paper we implement this approach and discuss its implications for managing populations of the endangered Andros Island Rock Iguana, Cyclura cychlura cychlura. This iguana is endemic to Andros, a highly fragmented landmass of large islands and smaller cays. Field observations suggest that geographically isolated demes were panmictic due to high, inferred rates of gene flow. We expand on these observations using 16 polymorphic microsatellites to investigate the genetic structure and rates of gene flow from 188 Andros Iguanas collected across 23 island sites. Bayesian clustering of specimens assigned individuals to three distinct genotypic clusters. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicates that allele frequency differences are responsible for a significant portion of the genetic variance across the three defined clusters (Fst = 0.117, p<0.01). These clusters are associated with larger islands and satellite cays isolated by broad water channels with strong currents. These findings imply that broad water channels present greater obstacles to gene flow than was inferred from field observation alone. Additionally, rates of gene flow were indirectly estimated using BAYESASS 3.0. The proportion of individuals originating from within each identified cluster varied from 94.5 to 98.7%, providing further support for local isolation. Our assessment reveals a major disparity between inferred and realized gene flow. We discuss our results in a conservation perspective for species inhabiting highly fragmented landscapes.