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Metapopulation effective size and conservation genetic goals for the Fennoscandian wolf (Canis lupus) population
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics.
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Number of Authors: 52016 (English)In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 117, no 4, p. 279-289Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Scandinavian wolf population descends from only five individuals, is isolated, highly inbred and exhibits inbreeding depression. To meet international conservation goals, suggestions include managing subdivided wolf populations over Fennoscandia as a metapopulation; a genetically effective population size of N-e >= 500, in line with the widely accepted long-term genetic viability target, might be attainable with gene flow among subpopulations of Scandinavia, Finland and Russian parts of Fennoscandia. Analytical means for modeling N-e of subdivided populations under such non-idealized situations have been missing, but we recently developed new mathematical methods for exploring inbreeding dynamics and effective population size of complex metapopulations. We apply this theory to the Fennoscandian wolves using empirical estimates of demographic parameters. We suggest that the long-term conservation genetic target for metapopulations should imply that inbreeding rates in the total system and in the separate subpopulations should not exceed Delta f = 0.001. This implies a meta-Ne of N-eMeta >= 500 and a realized effective size of each subpopulation of N-eRx >= 500. With current local effective population sizes and one migrant per generation, as recommended by management guidelines, the meta-Ne that can be reached is similar to 250. Unidirectional gene flow from Finland to Scandinavia reduces meta-N-e to similar to 130. Our results indicate that both local subpopulation effective sizes and migration among subpopulations must increase substantially from current levels to meet the conservation target. Alternatively, immigration from a large (N-e >= 500) population in northwestern Russia could support the Fennoscandian metapopulation, but immigration must be substantial (5-10 effective immigrants per generation) and migration among Fennoscandian subpopulations must nevertheless increase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 117, no 4, p. 279-289
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Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137522DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2016.44ISI: 000383707900011PubMedID: 27328654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137522DiVA, id: diva2:1066396
Available from: 2017-01-18 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Laikre, LindaJansson, EevaHössjer, OlaRyman, Nils
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