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  • Nair, Abhilash; Nonaka, Etsuko; van Nouhuys, Saskya (2018)
    Climate change can increase spatial synchrony of population dynamics, leading to large-scale fluctuation that destabilizes communities. High trophic level species such as parasitoids are disproportionally affected because they depend on unstable resources. Most parasitoid wasps have complementary sex determination, producing sterile males when inbred, which can theoretically lead to population extinction via the diploid male vortex (DMV). We examined this process empirically using a hyperparasitoid population inhabiting a spatially structured host population in a large fragmented landscape. Over four years of high host butterfly metapopulation fluctuation, diploid male production by the wasp increased, and effective population size declined precipitously. Our multitrophic spatially structured model shows that host population fluctuation can cause local extinctions of the hyperparasitoid because of the DMV. However, regionally it persists because spatial structure allows for efficient local genetic rescue via balancing selection for rare alleles carried by immigrants. This is, to our knowledge, the first empirically based study of the possibility of the DMV in a natural host–parasitoid system.
  • Fountain, Toby Edward Soames; Nieminen, Marko Juhani; Siren, Jukka Pekka; Wong, Swee Chong; Lehtonen, Rainer Juhani; Hanski, Ilkka Aulis (2016)
    Describing the evolutionary dynamics of now extinct populations is challenging, as their genetic composition before extinction is generally unknown. The Glanville fritillary butterfly has a large extant metapopulation in the Åland Islands in Finland, but declined to extinction in the nearby fragmented southwestern (SW) Finnish archipelago in the 20th century. We genotyped museum samples for 222 SNPs across the genome, including SNPs from candidate genes and neutral regions. SW Finnish populations had significantly reduced genetic diversity before extinction, and their allele frequencies gradually diverged from those in contemporary Åland populations over 80 y. We identified 15 outlier loci among candidate SNPs, mostly related to flight, in which allele frequencies have changed more than the neutral expectation. At outlier loci, allele frequencies in SW Finland shifted in the same direction as newly established populations deviated from old local populations in contemporary Åland. Moreover, outlier allele frequencies in SW Finland resemble those in fragmented landscapes as opposed to continuous landscapes in the Baltic region. These results indicate selection for genotypes associated with good colonization capacity in the highly fragmented landscape before the extinction of the populations. Evolutionary response to habitat fragmentation may have enhanced the viability of the populations, but it did not save the species from regional extinction in the face of severe habitat loss and fragmentation. These results highlight a potentially common situation in changing environments: evolutionary changes are not strong enough to fully compensate for the direct adverse effects of environmental change and thereby rescue populations from extinction.