Arctic fox Vulpes lagopus population structure: circumpolar patterns and processes
2011 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 120, no 6, 873-885 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Movement is a prominent process shaping genetic population structure. In many northern mammal species, population structure is formed by geographic distance, geographical barriers and various ecological factors that influence movement over the landscape. The Arctic fox Vulpes lagopus is a highly mobile, opportunistic carnivore of the Arctic that occurs in two main ecotypes with different ecological adaptations. We assembled microsatellite data in 7 loci for 1834 Arctic foxes sampled across their entire distribution to describe the circumpolar population structure and test the impact of (1) geographic distance, (2) geographical barriers and (3) ecotype designation on the population structure. Both Structure and Geneland demonstrated distinctiveness of Iceland and Scandinavia whereas low differentiation was observed between North America-northern Greenland, Svalbard and Siberia. Genetic differentiation was significantly correlated to presence of sea ice on a global scale, but not to geographical distance or ecotype designation. However, among areas connected by sea ice, we recorded a pattern of isolation by distance. The maximum likelihood approach in Migrate suggested that connectivity across North America-northern Greenland and Svalbard was particularly high. Our results demonstrate the importance of sea ice for maintaining connectivity between Arctic fox populations and we therefore predict that climate change will increase genetic divergence among populations in the future.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 120, no 6, 873-885 p.
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43525DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18766.xISI: 000290871400009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43525DiVA: diva2:357589