Preferred habitat and effective population size drive landscape genetic patterns in an endangered species

Weckworth, B, Musiani, M, DeCesare, N, McDevitt, AD, Hebblewhite, M and Mariani, S ORCID: 2013, 'Preferred habitat and effective population size drive landscape genetic patterns in an endangered species' , Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280 (1769) , pp. 1-9.

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Landscape genetics provides a framework for pinpointing environmental features that determine the important exchange of migrants among populations. These studies usually test the significance of environmental variables on gene flow, yet ignore one fundamental driver of genetic variation in small populations, effectivepopulation size,Ne.We combinedboth approaches inevaluating genetic connectivity of a threatened ungulate,woodland caribou.We used leastcost paths to calculate matrices of resistance distance for landscape variables (preferred habitat, anthropogenic features and predation risk) and populationpairwise harmonic means of Ne, and correlated them with genetic distances, FST and Dc. Results showed that spatial configuration of preferred habitat and Newere the twobest predictors of genetic relationships.Additionally, controlling for the effect of Ne increased the strength of correlations of environmental variables with genetic distance, highlighting the significant underlying effect of Ne in modulating genetic drift and perceived spatial connectivity. We therefore have provided empirical support to emphasize preventing increased habitat loss and promoting population growth to ensure metapopulation viability.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The Royal Society
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0962-8452
Related URLs:
Depositing User: S Rafiq
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 16:04
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 15:06

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