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Effects of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of plants and animals(PDF)

Chinese Journal of Applied & Environmental Biology[ISSN:1006-687X/CN:51-1482/Q]

2019 03
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Effects of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of plants and animals
YU Wenhao WU Baofeng & LIU Yongbo**
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
habitat fragmentation genetic diversity gene flow gene drift time-delayed effect

Habitat fragmentation (HF) is a key factor in the decrease in biological diversity. Previous studies focused on species and ecosystem diversity, whereas the effects of HF on genetic diversity and its mechanism remains unclear. Here we reviewed the causes, measurements, and theoretical foundations of HF, and the ecological consequences and effects of HF on genetic diversity of plants and animals. Habitat fragmentation affects genetic diversity through increasing isolation distance among populations and decreasing effective population size, with the alteration of gene flow frequency among populations and genetic drift within populations. However, the HF effects depend on the reproductive strategy of plants and the mobility of animals, which interact with other factors, such as mating patterns, population size, life cycle, landscape attributes, and so on. For example, HF significantly affects animals with low mobility, such as small mammals and amphibians, whereas animals with high mobility, such as birds, are less sensitive to HF. Trees can buffer the effects of the genetic drift because of their longevity, but grasses and shrubs with short life cycles cannot. Moreover, there is often a time-delayed effect of HF on genetic diversity. These results indicate that the mechanism of HF on genetic diversity is complicated, and its negative effects are likely to be ignored because of the time-delayed phenomenon. Hence, it is important to study the effects of HF on genetic diversity, especially at a longer time scale.


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Last Update: 2019-06-25