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Genetic landscape with sharp discontinuities shaped by complex demographic history in moose (Alces alces)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Sweden.
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Number of Authors: 6
2016 (English)In: Journal of Mammalogy, ISSN 0022-2372, E-ISSN 1545-1542, Vol. 97, no 1, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The moose (Alces alces) is the most intensely managed game species in Fennoscandia; approximately one-third of the population, ca. 160,000 animals, is harvested annually. Despite the species' biological and socioeconomic importance, there are knowledge gaps with respect to its intraspecific diversity and genetic structure. Recent studies of moose in neighboring countries report 2 genetic groups in Finland, 3 in Norway with one of them suggested to be of ancient origin, and no indications of bottlenecks. To delineate the spatial genetic landscape of the Swedish moose, we used allozyme variability from over 20,000 georeferenced moose collected all over Sweden in combination with 12 microsatellites (n = 1,200) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences (n = 44). We combined individual-based and traditional statistical approaches with coalescence-based simulations. The results indicate a complex history with bottlenecks and recent expansions that is consistent with historical records. Swedish moose are separated into 2 major genetic groups, a northern and a southern one, where the southern group is further divided into 3 subgroups. The 2 main subpopulations are moderately differentiated (F-ST = 0.1; R-ST = 0.07) and separated by sharp genetic discontinuities occurring over a relatively narrow transition zone in central Sweden that coincides with a similar, previously reported transition zone in Norway. This differentiation is not reflected in mtDNA variation, where no significant divergence was observed. Together with the F-ST andR(ST) similarities, this suggests that the 2 major subpopulations in Sweden reflect divergence shaped after the postglacial recolonization of Scandinavia. Neighborhood size assessments indicate that gene flow is relatively restricted with an estimated average dispersal distance of 3.5-11.1 km, and spatial autocorrelograms suggest that genetic similarity decreases almost linearly over space resulting in continuous genetic clines within major subgroups. Management areas largely coincide with genetic clusters, simplifying the integration of genetic information into management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 97, no 1, 1-13 p.
Keyword [en]
approximate Bayesian computation, population genetic structure, spatial autocorrelation, wildlife management
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127869DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyv146ISI: 000369232600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127869DiVA: diva2:928640
Available from: 2016-05-16 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Population genetic patterns in continuous environments in relation to conservation management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Population genetic patterns in continuous environments in relation to conservation management
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic variation is a prerequisite for the viability and evolution of species. Information on population genetic patterns on spatial and temporal scales is therefore important for effective management and for protection of biodiversity. However, incorporation of genetics into management has been difficult, even though the need has been stressed for decades. In this thesis population genetic patterns in continuous environments are described, compared among species, and related to conservation management. The model systems are moose (Alces alces) in Sweden and multiple species in the Baltic Sea, with particular focus on the Northern pike (Esox lucius). The spatial scope of the studies is large, and much focus is dedicated towards comprehensive sampling over large geographic areas. The moose population in Sweden is shown to be divided into two major subpopulations, a northern and a southern one. Both subpopulations show genetic signals of major population bottlenecks, which coincide with known population reductions due to high hunting pressure (Paper I). The Northern pike in the Baltic Sea shows relatively weak, but temporally stable population genetic structure. An isolation by distance pattern suggests that gene flow primarily takes place among neighboring populations, either over shortest waterway distance or along the mainland coast, with island populations acting as stepping stones (Paper III). In a comparative study of seven Baltic Sea species no shared genetic patterns were found, either in terms of genetic divergence among or genetic diversity within geographic regions. These results complicate the incorporation of genetic data into management, because it suggests that no generalization can be made among species in the Baltic Sea, but that species-specific management is needed (Paper II). Over the last 50 years, 61 species in the Baltic Sea have been studied with respect to spatial genetic patterns. For over 20 of these species information of direct relevance for management is available. Relevant information is synthesized into management recommendations (Paper IV). This thesis provides vital information on spatial and temporal genetic structure for a number of ecologically and socio-economically important species. It shows that such information is important to consider species by species and that both local and metapopulation approaches are needed to effectively manage genetic diversity in e.g. moose and pike. Further, it identifies for which organisms in the Baltic Sea genetic information exists, how it can be used, and where important information is lacking. In order to successfully make use of genetic data in management, effective communication channels between academia and policy-makers are needed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2016. 42 p.
Keyword
Alces alces, Esox lucius, Multiple species, Baltic Sea, Conservation genetics, Microsatellites, Approximate Bayesian Computation
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131223 (URN)978-91-7649-452-3 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-16, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-08-24 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-09-07Bibliographically approved
2. Genetic variation and inference of demographic histories in non-model species
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic variation and inference of demographic histories in non-model species
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both long-term environmental changes such as those driven by the glacial cycles and more recent anthropogenic impacts have had major effects on the past demography in wild organisms. Within species, these changes are reflected in the amount and distribution of neutral genetic variation. In this thesis, mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA was analysed to investigate how environmental and anthropogenic factors have affected genetic diversity and structure in four ecologically different animal species. Paper I describes the post-glacial recolonisation history of the speckled-wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) in Northern Europe. A decrease in genetic diversity with latitude and a marked population structure were uncovered, consistent with a hypothesis of repeated founder events during the postglacial recolonisation. Moreover, Approximate Bayesian Computation analyses indicate that the univoltine populations in Scandinavia and Finland originate from recolonisations along two routes, one on each side of the Baltic. Paper II aimed to investigate how past sea-level rises affected the population history of the convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus) in the Indo-Pacific. Assessment of the species’ demographic history suggested a population expansion that occurred approximately at the end of the last glaciation. Moreover, the results demonstrated an overall lack of phylogeographic structure, probably due to the high dispersal rates associated with the species’ pelagic larval stage. Populations at the species’ eastern range margin were significantly differentiated from other populations, which likely is a consequence of their geographic isolation. In Paper III, we assessed the effect of human impact on the genetic variation of European moose (Alces alces) in Sweden. Genetic analyses revealed a spatial structure with two genetic clusters, one in northern and one in southern Sweden, which were separated by a narrow transition zone. Moreover, demographic inference suggested a recent population bottleneck. The inferred timing of this bottleneck coincided with a known reduction in population size in the 19th and early 20th century due to high hunting pressure. In Paper IV, we examined the effect of an indirect but well-described human impact, via environmental toxic chemicals (PCBs), on the genetic variation of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in Sweden. Genetic clustering assignment revealed differentiation between otters in northern and southern Sweden, but also in the Stockholm region. ABC analyses indicated a decrease in effective population size in both northern and southern Sweden. Moreover, comparative analyses of historical and contemporary samples demonstrated a more severe decline in genetic diversity in southern Sweden compared to northern Sweden, in agreement with the levels of PCBs found.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute Stockholm University, 2014. 33 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Molecular Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109896 (URN)9789176490563 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-01-14, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-01 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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