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Effects of subpopulation extinction on effective size (Ne) of metapopulations
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5370-1236
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3342-8479
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2767-8818
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Population Genetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9286-3361
Number of Authors: 42023 (English)In: Conservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621, E-ISSN 1572-9737, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 417-433Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Population extinction is ubiquitous in all taxa. Such extirpations can reduce intraspecific diversity, but the extent to which genetic diversity of surviving populations are affected remains largely unclear. A key concept in this context is the effective population size (Ne), which quantifies the rate at which genetic diversity within populations is lost. Ne was developed for single, isolated populations while many natural populations are instead connected to other populations via gene flow. Recent analytical approaches and software permit modelling of Ne of interconnected populations (metapopulations). Here, we apply such tools to investigate how extinction of subpopulations affects Ne of the metapopulation (NeMeta) and of separate surviving subpopulations (NeRx) under different rates and patterns of genetic exchange between subpopulations. We assess extinction effects before and at migration-drift equilibrium. We find that the effect of extinction on NeMeta increases with reduced connectivity, suggesting that stepping stone models of migration are more impacted than island-migration models when the same number of subpopulations are lost. Furthermore, in stepping stone models, after extinction and before a new equilibrium has been reached, NeRx can vary drastically among surviving subpopulations and depends on their initial spatial position relative to extinct ones. Our results demonstrate that extinctions can have far more complex effects on the retention of intraspecific diversity than typically recognized. Metapopulation dynamics need heightened consideration in sustainable management and conservation, e.g., in monitoring genetic diversity, and are relevant to a wide range of species in the ongoing extinction crisis. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 24, no 4, p. 417-433
Keywords [en]
Inbreeding effective population size, Eigenvalue effective size, Realized effective size, Substructured populations, Conservation genetics
National Category
Genetics Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-216315DOI: 10.1007/s10592-023-01510-9ISI: 000953077900002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85150289396OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-216315DiVA, id: diva2:1749954
Available from: 2023-04-12 Created: 2023-04-12 Last updated: 2023-10-04Bibliographically approved

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Kurland, SaraRyman, NilsHössjer, OlaLaikre, Linda

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