Population Genetics of a Vertebrate Community in a Patchy Environment

EPA Grant Number: U915528
Title: Population Genetics of a Vertebrate Community in a Patchy Environment
Investigators: Manier, Mollie K.
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through June 1, 2002
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Zoology , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences


The objectives of this research project are to: (1) describe the degree of genetic differentiation among subpopulations of four vertebrate species comprising a predator-prey system in a patchy environment; (2) compare population genetics among the four species and within and among trophic levels; (3) estimate the number of migrants for each species per generation; and (4) compare these estimates among the species and within and among trophic levels.


The study system of interest consists of two garter snake species (Thamnophis elegans and T. sirtalis) that prey on the tadpoles and metamorphs of two anuran species (Hyla regilla and Bufo boreas). All four organisms inhabit lakes, ponds, and flooded meadows within Lassen National Forest in Lassen County, California. These habitat patches vary widely in size, degree of isolation, permanence, and species composition. Microsatellites will be used to estimate several measures of genetic distance. Because Fst = 1/(1 + 4Nm), this estimate can be used to calculate Nm, the number of migrants per generation.

Expected Results:

It is expected that interspecific differences will be found in the level of population differentiation, depending on life history traits such as mobility, breeding site (anurans) or den (snakes) philopatry, and colonization potential. The relationship between trophic level and population genetics promises to be complex, and results cannot be concisely predicted at this time.

Supplemental Keywords:

population genetics, metapopulations, community dynamics, predator-prey interactions., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, amphibians, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, amphibian dispersal, frogs, habitat selection, animal movement, pond breeding, amphibian bioindicator, snakes, predation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final