The Australian koala is an iconic marsupial with highly specific dietary requirements distributed across heterogeneous environments, over a large geographic range. The distribution and genetic structure of koala populations has been heavily influenced by human actions, specifically habitat modification, hunting and translocation of koalas. There is currently limited information on population diversity and gene flow at a species-wide scale, or with consideration to the potential impacts of local adaptation. Using species-wide sampling across heterogeneous environments, and high-density genome-wide markers (SNPs and PAVs), we show that most koala populations display levels of diversity comparable to other outbred species, except for those populations impacted by population reductions. Genetic clustering analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction reveals a lack of support for current taxonomic classification of three koala subspecies, with only a single evolutionary significant unit supported. Furthermore, ~70% of genetic variance is accounted for at the individual level. The Sydney Basin region is highlighted as a unique reservoir of genetic diversity, having higher diversity levels (i.e., Blue Mountains region; AvHecorr=0.20, PL% = 68.6). Broad-scale population differentiation is primarily driven by an isolation by distance genetic structure model (49% of genetic variance), with clinal local adaptation corresponding to habitat bioregions. Signatures of selection were detected between bioregions, with no single region returning evidence of strong selection. The results of this study show that although the koala is widely considered to be a dietary-specialist species, this apparent specialisation has not limited the koala’s ability to maintain gene flow and adapt across divergent environments as long as the required food source is available.
The scalloped spiny lobster (Panulirus homarus) is a popular seafood commodity worldwide and an important export item from Oman. Annual catches in commercial fisheries are in serious decline, which has resulted in calls for the development of an integrated stock management approach. In Oman, the scalloped spiny lobster is currently treated as a single management unit (MU) or stock and there is an absence of information on the genetic population structure of the species that can inform management decisions, particularly at a fine-scale level. This work is the first to identify genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for P. homarus using Diversity Arrays Technology sequencing (DArT-seq) and to elucidate any stock structure in the species.
After stringent filtering, 7988 high utility SNPs were discovered and used to assess the genetic diversity, connectivity and structure of P. homarus populations from Al Ashkharah, Masirah Island, Duqm, Ras Madrakah, Haitam, Ashuwaymiyah, Mirbat and Dhalkut landing sites. Pairwise FST estimates revealed low differentiation among populations (pairwise FST range = − 0.0008 – 0.0021). Analysis of genetic variation using putatively directional FST outliers (504 SNPs) revealed higher and significant pairwise differentiation (p < 0.01) for all locations, with Ashuwaymiyah being the most diverged population (Ashuwaymiyah pairwise FST range = 0.0288–0.0736). Analysis of population structure using Discriminant Analysis of Principal Components (DAPC) revealed a broad admixture among P. homarus, however, Ashuwaymiyah stock appeared to be potentially under local adaptive pressures. Fine scale analysis using Netview R provided further support for the general admixture of P. homarus.
Findings here suggested that stocks of P. homarus along the Omani coastline are admixed. Yet, fishery managers need to treat the lobster stock from Ashuwaymiyah with caution as it might be subject to local adaptive pressures. We emphasize further study with larger number of samples to confirm the genetic status of the Ashuwaymiyah stock. The approach utilised in this study has high transferability in conservation and management of other marine stocks with similar biological and ecological attributes