Genetic structure in the North- population connectivity and social organization in the Arctic fox
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Genetic variation is distributed on different spatial and temporal scales, reflecting the ecological and geographical complexity in the habitat. In this thesis, the primary objective was to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the genetic structuring in the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and to identify the underlying factors forming these structures. Using microsatellites, presence of sea ice was identified as the main factor determining the large-scale genetic structure in the Arctic fox. Genetic distinctiveness was demonstrated for populations surrounded by year-round open water (i.e. Iceland and Scandinavia) and among areas connected by sea ice, genetic differentiation was mainly determined by the geographic distance (PAPER I). Movement across the sea ice was influenced by fluctuations in resource abundance caused by the lemming cycle. As a consequence of low lemming abundance, long-distance movement from inland habitats into coastal habitats influenced the genetic structure on a temporal scale (PAPER II). Although the global connectivity was determined by few underlying factors, local population structures were influenced by population-specific historical, demographic and ecological factors (PAPER II, III, IV). Geographical barriers determined genetic structure within the isolated population on Iceland (PAPER III), whereas immigration influenced the local genetic structure in both Svalbard (PAPER II) and Scandinavia (PAPER IV). When population size is low, few immigration events cause rapid changes in genetic composition (PAPER IV), while immigration had a less pronounced effect in larger populations (PAPER II). On the social scale, high flexibility regarding the composition of social groups was recorded as a likely response to local habitat conditions (PAPER V). Complex social groups were more common in habitats with high resource availability and presence of predators than in habitats without predation. This thesis illustrates the importance of ecology and demography forming genetic structure at different scales, and highlights the Arctic fox vulnerability to the ongoing climate change.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2010. , 19 p.
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43529ISBN: 978-91-7447-155-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43529DiVA: diva2:357599
2010-11-26, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Sacks, Benjamin, Assistant Adjunct Professor
Angerbjörn, Anders, ProfessorHersteinsson, Páll, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: In press. Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.
List of papers