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|All Authors / Contributors:||Kim T Scribner; Justin D Congdon; Ronald K Chesser; Michael H Smith|
Long-term ecological data were used to evaluate the relative importance of movements, breeding structure, and reproductive ecological factors to the degree of spatial and age-specific variation in genetic characteristics of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) on the E. S. George Reserve in southeastern Michigan. Estimates of the degree of spatial genetic structuring were based on the proportion of total genotypic variance partitioned within and between subpopulations (inferred from hierarchical F-statistics based on variation at 18 protein loci), and in terms of gene correlations (co-ancestry among individuals derived from reproductive data on full-sib families of females nesting at specific nesting areas). Little variation in allele frequency was observed among turtles from different marshes (F<sub>mt</sub> = 0.003), though significant variation was observed among turtles from different nesting areas associated with each marsh (F<sub>nm</sub> = 0.046). Gene correlations among individuals within nesting areas varied greatly over years (0.032-0.171; mean = 0.069) and were negatively correlated to the proportion of females that successfully nested during each year. General concordance between independent estimates of genotypic correlations (i.e., F<sub>nm</sub> derived from protein electrophoretic variation vs. mean co-ancestry) suggests that allozyme data, when collected over spatial scales consistent with species behavioral characteristics and reproductive ecology, may accurately reflect the apportionment of gene diversity within and among subpopulations. The magnitude and patterning of allelic variation among nesting areas and individuals appears to be primarily a function of gametic correlations among members of full-sib families, irrespective of the degree of gene flow or female nesting-site fidelity. Comparisons of genetic characteristics among 11 cohorts (1974-1984) revealed that heterozygosity (H) and inbreeding coefficients (F) varied greatly. Cohort estimates of H and F were correlated to female nesting success and to estimates of co-ancestry for the same years. Results clearly reflect the concomitant importance of ecological factors (principally the proportion of the female population that successfully produce offspring during each year) in determining the magnitude and patterning of gene correlations within and among groups, and to the genotypic composition of offspring born during each year.