Functional connectivity in replicated urban landscapes in the land snail (Cornu aspersum)

Abstract : Urban areas are highly fragmented and thereby exert strong constraints on individual dispersal. Despite this, some species manage to persist in urban areas, such as the garden snail, Cornu aspersum, which is common in cityscapes despite its low mobility. Using landscape genetic approaches, we combined study area replication and multiscale analysis to determine how landscape composition, configuration and connectivity influence snail dispersal across urban areas. At the overall landscape scale, areas with a high percentage of roads decreased genetic differentiation between populations. At the population scale, genetic differentiation was positively linked with building surface, the proportion of borders where wooded patches and roads appeared side by side and the proportion of borders combining wooded patches and other impervious areas. Analyses based on pairwise genetic distances validated the isolation-by-distance and isolation-by-resistance models for this land snail, with an equal fit to least-cost paths and circuit-theory-based models. Each of the 12 landscapes analysed separately yielded specific relations to environmental features, whereas analyses integrating all replicates highlighted general common effects. Our results suggest that urban transport infrastructures facilitate passive snail dispersal. At a local scale, corresponding to active dispersal, unfavourable habitats (wooded and impervious areas) isolate populations. This work upholds the use of replicated landscapes to increase the generalizability of landscape genetics results and shows how multiscale analyses provide insight into scale-dependent processes.
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Manon Balbi, Aude Ernoult, Pedro Poli, Luc Madec, Annie Guiller, et al.. Functional connectivity in replicated urban landscapes in the land snail (Cornu aspersum). Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2018, 27 (6), pp.1357-1370. ⟨10.1111/mec.14521⟩. ⟨hal-01771481⟩

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