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Evol Appl 2020 May 01;135:857-878. doi: 10.1111/eva.12940.
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Evolutionary principles guiding amphibian conservation.

Pabijan M , Palomar G , Antunes B , Antoł W , Zieliński P , Babik W .

The Anthropocene has witnessed catastrophic amphibian declines across the globe. A multitude of new, primarily human-induced drivers of decline may lead to extinction, but can also push species onto novel evolutionary trajectories. If these are recognized by amphibian biologists, they can be engaged in conservation actions. Here, we summarize how principles stemming from evolutionary concepts have been applied for conservation purposes, and address emerging ideas at the vanguard of amphibian conservation science. In particular, we examine the consequences of increased drift and inbreeding in small populations and their implications for practical conservation. We then review studies of connectivity between populations at the landscape level, which have emphasized the limiting influence of anthropogenic structures and degraded habitat on genetic cohesion. The rapid pace of environmental changes leads to the central question of whether amphibian populations can cope either by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their ranges. We gloomily conclude that extinction seems far more likely than adaptation or range shifts for most species. That said, conservation strategies employing evolutionary principles, such as selective breeding, introduction of adaptive variants through translocations, ecosystem interventions aimed at decreasing phenotype-environment mismatch, or genetic engineering, may effectively counter amphibian decline in some areas or for some species. The spread of invasive species and infectious diseases has often had disastrous consequences, but has also provided some premier examples of rapid evolution with conservation implications. Much can be done in terms of setting aside valuable amphibian habitat that should encompass both natural and agricultural areas, as well as designing protected areas to maximize the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the amphibian community. We conclude that an explicit consideration and application of evolutionary principles, although certainly not a silver bullet, should increase effectiveness of amphibian conservation in both the short and long term.

PubMed ID: 32431739
Article link: Evol Appl

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cope

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References [+] :
Barribeau, Major histocompatibility complex based resistance to a common bacterial pathogen of amphibians. 2008, Pubmed, Xenbase