IDENTIFYING GENOME-INFORMED MANAGEMENT UNITS FOR AN ENDANGERED SPECIES IN CALIFORNIA'S SAN JOAQUIN DESERT.
Michael F. Westphal; US Bureau of Land Management; 940 2nd Avenue, Marina, CA, 93933; (831) 582-2229; mwestpha@blm.gov; Jonathan Q. Richmond, Steven Morey, Robert Fisher
Speciation is a biological process, but species delineation is a sociological process involving value judgments including criteria such as utility and need. Recognizing this, the Federal Endangered Species Act allows for the designation of management units below the species level (Discrete Populations Segments = DPSs). Rapidly advancing techniques for collecting genomic data is providing new opportunities to define management units for threatened and endangered species through identification of their evolutionary significant units (ESUs). However, signals from different genetic markers can lead to different ESU inferences, requiring careful consideration about the underlying causes of signal discordance. Genetic data on the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard Gambelia sila, a species endemic to the San Joaquin Desert of California, can be used to align the existing management units with ESUs defined by genomic (restriction site associated DNA sequences) and other more traditional data types (i.e. microsatellites and mtDNA). We use a dichotomous key to evaluate whether a hybrid assemblage isolated from both parent species (G. sila and the long-nosed leopard lizard G. wislizenii) merits the same protections as G. sila. We argue that our data improve the capacity to manage these species in one of the world's most severely compromised landscapes.
The Anthropocene: Speciation & Hybridization