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Volume 26
Number 1
Spring 2009
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Information Crossfile
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
The importance of research archives in national parks
Can marine reserves enhance fishery yield?
How far should a marine protected area extend to provide refuge for fish near coral reefs?
Effects of increased nitrogen deposition in wilderness areas
Ecological traps: Implications for the conservation of animal populations
Alternative approaches to reserve design
  The role of genetics in understanding landscape-level ecological processes
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The role of genetics in understanding landscape-level ecological processes

Editor's Note: Following is a journal article summary of Canon Scholar Helen Neville's research by her Canon Scholar colleagues Elizabeth Brusati and Patricia Illoldi-Rangel.

By Patricia Illoldi-Rangel
Patricia Illoldi-Rangel was a 2002 Canon Scholar from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is a professor in the Faculty of Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a postdoctoral fellow with the Biodiversity and Biocultural Conservation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.

SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL LANDSCAPE PATTERNS across ecosystems have long been known to influence biological processes, but these processes often operate at scales that are difficult to study. The use of alternative methods like genetic markers can become a useful aid in the study of such patterns in ecology. Researchers can use a landscape-genetics approach to test hypotheses, as the authors did with the Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi). They employed microsatellite DNA variation in a complex stream network in the Great Basin region of the western United States. Their analyses reflected patterns of dispersal, population stability, and local effective population sizes. In addition, the authors found that trout populations presumed to have greater proportions of migratory individuals or to originate from physically connected, large, or high-quality habitats had higher genetic variability and lower genetic differentiation than other populations. However, the opposite pattern was found in populations thought to contain largely nonmigratory individuals, suggesting behavioral isolation. Estimated effective sizes were small, and the authors identified significant and severe genetic bottlenecks in several populations that were isolated, recently founded, or that inhabited intermittent streams. Their results show the importance of grounding genetic inferences in ecological hypotheses and predictions, but also demonstrate that genetic patterns can reveal processes that may be quite unexpected.


Neville, H. M., J. B. Dunham, and M. M. Peacock. 2006. Landscape attributes and life history variability shape genetic populations in a stream network. Landscape Ecology 21:901–916.

Helen M. Neville was a 1999 Canon Scholar from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a research scientist with Trout Unlimited in Boise, Idaho.

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From the Guest Editor(s)
In This Issue
  Information Crossfile
Book Reviews
Masthead Information
The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program: A legacy of science for national parks
Science for parks / parks for science: Conservation-based research in national parks
The rock and ice problem in national parks: An opportunity for monitoring climate change impacts
1,000 feet above a coral reef: A seascape approach to designing marine protected areas
Management strategies for keystone bird species: The Magellanic woodpecker in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
Climate change and water supply in western national parks
Mercury in snow at Acadia National Park reveals watershed dynamics
Organic pollutant distribution in Canadian mountain parks
Building an NPS training program in interpretation through distance learning
Musical instruments in the pre-Hispanic Southwest
Societal dynamics in grizzly bear conservation: Vulnerabilities of the ecosystem-based management approach
Linking wildlife populations with ecosystem change: State-of-the-art satellite ecology for national-park science
Whale sound recording technology as a tool for assessing the effects of boat noise in a Brazilian marine park
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