Genetic Signatures of Thermal Adaptation are Associated with Changes in Life History in a Broadly Distributed Frog

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Temperature is a critical driver of Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) life history strategies.

A warmer environment is associated with increased growth, reduced longevity, and accelerated mortality, which indicates that thermal adaptation may cause life history shifts in wild populations. USGS and university researchers studied genetic variations among 20,033 Columbia spotted frogs from eight populations in four western U.S. states, surveyed annually for 14-18 years, to examine how mean annual temperature and precipitation influenced adult survival, lifespan, aging, mortality, recruitment, and population growth. Their results showed that population recruitment increased, and lifespan decreased with higher temperatures. Molecular signatures of genetic markers associated with temperature adaptation may play a role in Columbia spotted frog life history shifts. Understanding these mechanisms helps resource managers better predict the impact of climate change on amphibian populations.

Cayuela, H., Dorant, Y., Forester, B.R., Jeffries, D.L., McCaffery, R.M., Eby, L.A., Hossack, B.R., Gippet, J.M., Pilliod, D.S., Funk, W.C., 2021, Genomic signatures of thermal adaptation are associated with clinal shifts of life history in a broadly distributed frog: Journal of Animal Ecology, p. 1-17, online,

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Date published: November 27, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology Team (FRESC)

Wildlife respond to changes in their environment, some of which are dramatic and others subtle. To fully understand the factors that drive changes in populations and communities, we need better information on wildlife ecology in natural and human-altered landscapes. We conduct research and provide technical assistance to address applied questions about the ecology and conservation of wildlife...

Contacts: David S Pilliod