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Assessing and monitoring genetic patterns for conservation purposes with special emphasis on Scandinavia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic variation is essential for biological evolution, for maintaining viability of populations, and to ensure ecosystem resilience. Increased human exploitation and environmental change result in rapid loss of biological variation, including genetic diversity. Measures to halt this trend require that biological diversity is assessed and monitored. Assessment of biodiversity includes identifying patterns of distribution of genetic variation within individual species.

This thesis focuses on spatial genetic structure and assessment of units for conservation in continuous environments without apparent migration barriers. Empirical data refer to Scandinavia and the model species are northern pike (Esox lucius), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Questions regarding monitoring genetic diversity and releases of alien populations are also addressed.

 The spatial genetic structure of the northern pike in the Baltic Sea is characterized by isolation by distance and continuous genetic change. Positive genetic correlation was found among pike within geographical distances of less than 150 km. This distance may be used to suggest management units in this area. For the brown trout, genetic monitoring identified two sympatric populations within a small mountain lake system. The situation is characterized by a clear genetic but no apparent phenotypic dichotomy. Scientific support for a genetically distinct Baltic harbour porpoise population is limited, and the spatial genetic structure of the harbour porpoise in Swedish waters needs to be clarified.

Data for launching conservation genetic monitoring programs is available for only a few Swedish species. Millions of forest trees, fish, and birds are released annually in Sweden and the documentation on these releases is poor. To meet responsibilities of safeguarding biodiversity and surveying biological effects of releases, there is an urgent need for studies aimed at evaluating genetic diversity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2010. , 61 p.
Keyword [en]
biological diversity, conservation genetics, management unit, spatial genetic structure, sympatric populations, genetic monitoring, release of alien populations, northern pike, brown trout, harbour porpoise
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42942ISBN: 978-91-7447-130-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-42942DiVA: diva2:353156
Public defence
2010-11-12, De Geer-salen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Available from: 2010-10-21 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2010-10-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Spatial genetic structure of northern pike (Esox lucius) in the Baltic Sea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial genetic structure of northern pike (Esox lucius) in the Baltic Sea
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2005 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 14, no 7, 1955-1964 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The genetic relationships among 337 northern pike (Esox lucius) collected from the coastal zone of the central Baltic region and the Finnish islands of Åland were analysed using five microsatellite loci. Spatial structure was delineated using both traditional F-statistics and individually based approaches including spatial autocorrelation analysis. Our results indicate that the observed genotypic distribution is incompatible with that of a single, panmictic population. Isolation by distance appears important for shaping the genetic structure of pike in this region resulting in a largely continuous genetic change over the study area. Spatial autocorrelation analysis (Moran’s I) of individual pairwise genotypic data show significant positive genetic correlation among pike collected within geographical distances of less than c. 100–150 km (genetic patch size). We suggest that the genetic patch size may be used as a preliminary basis for identifying management units for pike in the Baltic Sea.

Keyword
coastal zone, conservation management, correlogram, Moran’s I, population structure, spatial autocorrelation
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42926 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02570.x (DOI)
Available from: 2010-09-20 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
2. Genetic monitoring reveals two sympatric brown trout populations in a small mountain lake
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic monitoring reveals two sympatric brown trout populations in a small mountain lake
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is contentious to what extent sympatric speciation represents a general and taxonomically widespread phenomenon. Documenting the occurrence of multiple, genetically distinct populations within areas lacking barriers to gene flow can increase our understanding of this type of speciation, because such populations are expected to represent the first steps of sympatric speciation. We analyzed the genetic relationships among over 4000 brown trout (Salmo trutta) collected during 19 sampling years from a series of small mountain lakes in northern Scandinavia. Our results clearly indicate the presence of two sympatric populations within these lakes. The populations are characterized by a high degree of genetic divergence coupled with a lack of apparent phenotypic dichotomy. The differentiation pattern appears stable over the two decades monitored, and the exchange of individuals between the two populations appears small. The existence of sympatric populations characterized by substantial genetic divergence may be a much more common phenomenon than anticipated, but difficult to detect in situations where morphological or ecological differentiation is missing. Larger samples than typically collected in a single sampling effort may be needed for revealing situations of sympatry, and for reliable estimation of the number of populations.

Keyword
sympatric populations, heterozygote deficiency, salmonids, temporal genetics, cryptic populations
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42940 (URN)
Available from: 2010-09-20 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
3. Conservation genetics without knowing what to conserve: the case of the Baltic harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conservation genetics without knowing what to conserve: the case of the Baltic harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena
2008 (English)In: Oryx, ISSN 0030-6053, E-ISSN 1365-3008, Vol. 42, no 2, 305-308 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Effective conservation requires that arguments for identifying units for preservation and management are based on scientifically sound information. There is a strong conservation concern for the harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena of the Baltic Sea. This concern rests on the assumption that these porpoises represent a genetically distinct population reproductively separated from adjacent populations to the west. We argue that current scientific support for this claim is weak and to a large degree speculative. Current management of Baltic harbour porpoises as a genetically separate conservation unit is premature and we urge that high priority be given towards resolving this issue.

Keyword
Baltic Sea, management units, marine environment, Phocoena phocoena, spatial genetic structure
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14716 (URN)10.1017/S0030605308006960 (DOI)000256127900025 ()
Available from: 2008-10-28 Created: 2008-10-28 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
4. The genetic structure of harbour porpoise in the Baltic Sea relative to adjacent waters remains to be clarified: a reply to Berggren & Wang
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The genetic structure of harbour porpoise in the Baltic Sea relative to adjacent waters remains to be clarified: a reply to Berggren & Wang
2008 (Swedish)In: Oryx, ISSN 0030-6053, E-ISSN 1365-3008, Vol. 42, no 4, 490-490 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14717 (URN)10.1017-S0030605308423086 (DOI)
Available from: 2008-10-28 Created: 2008-10-28 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
5. Potentials for monitoring gene level biodiversity: using Sweden as an example
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Potentials for monitoring gene level biodiversity: using Sweden as an example
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2008 (English)In: Biodiversity and Conservation, ISSN 0960-3115, E-ISSN 1572-9710, Vol. 17, no 4, 893-910 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Programs for monitoring biological diversity over time are needed to detect changes that can constitute threats to biological resources. The convention on biological diversity regards effective monitoring as necessary to halt the ongoing erosion of biological variation, and such programs at the ecosystem and species levels are enforced in several countries. However, at the level of genetic biodiversity, little has been accomplished, and monitoring programs need to be developed. We define “conservation genetic monitoring” to imply the systematic, temporal study of genetic variation within particular species/populations with the aim to detect changes that indicate compromise or loss of such diversity. We also (i) identify basic starting points for conservation genetic monitoring, (ii) review the availability of such information using Sweden as an example, (iii) suggest categories of species for pilot monitoring programs, and (iv) identify some scientific and logistic issues that need to be addressed in the context of conservation genetic monitoring. We suggest that such programs are particularly warranted for species subject to large scale enhancement and harvest—operations that are known to potentially alter the genetic composition and reduce the variability of populations.

Keyword
Conservation genetic monitoring, Genetic diversity, Human induced genetic change, Release of alien populations, Spatial genetic structure, Stocking, Temporal genetic variability
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42937 (URN)10.1007/s10531-008-9335-2 (DOI)000254360200017 ()
Available from: 2010-09-20 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
6. Release of alien populations in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Release of alien populations in Sweden
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2006 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, Vol. 35, no 5, 255-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction of alien species is a major threat to biological diversity. Although public attention typically focuses on the species level, guidelines from the Convention of Biological Diversity define alien species to include entities below species level. This inclusion recognizes that release of nonlocal populations of native species may also result in negative effects on biodiversity. In practice, little is known about the extent, degree of establishment, or the effects on natural gene pools of such releases. Existing information on the releases in Sweden shows that alien populations are spread to a great extent. The most commonly released species include brown trout, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, common whitefish, Scots pine, Norway spruce, mallard duck, gray partridge, and pheasant. Although millions of forest trees, fish, and birds are released annually, poor documentation makes the geographic and genetic origin of these populations, as well as the sites where they have been released, largely unclear. We provide recommendations for urgently needed first steps relating to the risks and problems associated with release of alien populations.

National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42939 (URN)
Available from: 2010-09-20 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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