Population and Genetic Linkages of Vernal Pool Associated Amphibians

Population persistence requires a favorable balance between recruitment and loss of individuals over time. Persistence is driven by population size, local population dynamics, metapopulation dynamics (i.e., local extinctions, colonization, and dispersal), and stochastic events (Vandemeer and Goldberg 2003). These processes also shape the distribution of genetic diversity of individuals in a population (Harrison and Hastings 1996). Genetic variation is associated with short-term population persistence in species that typically outbreed (Frankham et al. 2002), and ultimately determines a population’s capacity to adapt to a changing environment, particularly to rapid changes wrought by human activities (Stockwell et al. 2003). Consequently, understanding population genetic linkages is an important focus for conservation biologists and land managers concerned with the fate of any organism.