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Spatial phenotypic variability is higher between island than mainland populations worldwide
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  • Anna Csergő,
  • Kevin Healy,
  • Maude Baudraz,
  • David Kelly,
  • Darren O’Connell,
  • Fionn Ó Marcaigh,
  • Annabel Smith,
  • Jesus Villellas,
  • Cian White ,
  • Qiang Yang,
  • Yvonne Buckley
Anna Csergő
Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences - Budai Campus

Corresponding Author:csergo.anna.maria@uni-mate.hu

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Kevin Healy
Trinity College, University of Dublin
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Maude Baudraz
Trinity College
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David Kelly
School of Natural Science
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Darren O’Connell
Trinity College Dublin
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Fionn Ó Marcaigh
Trinity College Dublin
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Annabel Smith
Trinity College Dublin
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Jesus Villellas
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
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Cian White
Trinity College Dublin
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Qiang Yang
Trinity College Dublin
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Yvonne Buckley
Trinity College Dublin
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Abstract

Spatial isolation is a key driver of population-level variability in traits and genotypes worldwide. While geographical distance between populations can determine isolation, organisms may face additional barriers when dispersing between suitable habitat patches. Despite the predicted universal nature of factors underlying isolation, global comparisons of isolation effects across taxa and geographic systems are few. We assessed the strength of isolation due to geographic and macroclimatic distance across island and mainland systems, comparing published measurements of phenotypic traits and neutral genetic diversity for 1832 populations of plants and animals worldwide. As expected, phenotypic differentiation was higher between islands than mainland populations. However, geographic and macroclimatic distances had weak effects on phenotypic variability and neutral genetic diversity in both systems. Our results show that macroecological models of population variability should consider the spatial structure of populations in addition to the commonly employed predictors of environmental conditions or geographic distances between populations.