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Sebastian Steinfartz

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Sebastian Steinfartz and Sylvain Ursenbacher

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Sebastian Steinfartz and Sylvain Ursenbacher

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Amy MacLeod and Sebastian Steinfartz

Traditionally, conservation management focuses efforts on taxonomic units. However, when the taxa used do not reflect biologically meaningful units, such methods should be reconsidered to avoid the loss of irreplaceable biodiversity. The Galápagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is facing growing anthropogenic threats. Currently, management is based on a taxonomy which is questionable in the light of recent molecular data. As such, there is a danger that evolutionarily significant populations may be left vulnerable to extirpation. Herein, we apply molecular data to elucidate the population structure of this species across the Galápagos archipelago, and thus advise conservation management in the absence of a revised taxonomy. Applying a wealth of molecular data including 12 microsatellite loci and 1181 bp of the mitochondrial control region in over 1200 individuals, we delineate distinct populations and prioritize their management. Bayesian population structure analysis revealed 10 distinct population clusters, which we propose as management units (MUs). All MUs are significantly differentiated, with one unit on San Cristóbal Island being particularly distinct in terms of both microsatellite loci and mitochondrial data. Based on estimates of the genetic effective population size (Ne), we find the MUs comprised of populations occurring on Floreana, Española, Marchena, and San Cristóbal to be alarmingly small. In consideration of both Ne and anthropogenic threats, we recommend that conservation practitioners focus efforts on Floreana and San Cristóbal islands, and argue that better census size estimates of populations are urgently needed.

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Amphibia-Reptilia

Publication of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica

Amphibia-Reptilia is a leading European multi-disciplinary journal devoted to most of the aspects of herpetology: ecology, behaviour, evolution, conservation, physiology, morphology, paleontology, genetics, and systematics.

Amphibia-Reptilia publishes high quality original papers, short-notes, reviews, book reviews and news of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH). The Societas Europaea Herpteologica (SEH) website is located at: www.seh-herpetology.org.

2016 Impact Factor: 1.287
5 Year Impact Factor 1.175.

Online submission: Articles for publication in Amphibia-Reptilia can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here. As of July 1st 2017, full colour images and figures are published free of charge.

Need support prior to submitting your manuscript? Make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript easier with Brill's suite of author services, an online platform that connects academics seeking support for their work with specialized experts who can help.
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Sebastian Steinfartz, Max Sparreboom and Gunter Schultschik

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Timm Reinhardt, Sebastian Steinfartz and Markus Weitere

The matching of life-history-events to the availability of prey is essential for the growth and development of predators. Mismatches can constrain individuals to complete life-cycle steps in time and in ephemeral habitats it can lead to mortality unless compensation mechanisms exist. Here we measured the performance of a population of European fire-salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) and their prey in ephemeral ponds. We analysed how short time inter-annual variability of yearly rainfall and temperature (two consecutive years, 2011 and 2012) affects matching of predator and prey and how two different weather scenarios influenced the predator’s population structure. A single species (larvae of the mosquito Aedes vexans) dominates the prey community here, which occurs in high quantities only in the beginning of the season. When the occurrence of prey and predator matched during a period of sufficiently high temperatures (as in 2011), initial growth of the salamander larvae was high and population size development homogeneous. At low temperatures during matching of predatory and prey (as in 2012), the initial growth was low but the salamander larvae developed into two distinctly different sizes. Further, some individuals in the large cohort became cannibalistic and initial size differences increased. As a result, the latest (smallest) cohort disappeared completely. Temperature measurements and estimation of maximal growth rates revealed that temperature differences alone could explain the different early development between years. Our data show that weather conditions (rainfall; temperature during early growth phase) strongly determined the performance of salamander larvae in ponds. Our data also add to the match-mismatch concept that abiotic growth conditions (here: low temperature) could prevent efficient conversion of prey- into predator-biomass despite high prey availability.