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Population genetic patterns in continuous environments in relation to conservation management
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3766-4970
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 [en]
Alces alces, Esox lucius, Multiple species, Baltic Sea, Conservation genetics, Microsatellites, Approximate Bayesian Computation
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131223ISBN: 978-91-7649-452-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-131223DiVA: diva2:936653
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
List of papers
1. Genetic landscape with sharp discontinuities shaped by complex demographic history in moose (Alces alces)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic landscape with sharp discontinuities shaped by complex demographic history in moose (Alces alces)
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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.

Keyword
approximate Bayesian computation, population genetic structure, spatial autocorrelation, wildlife management
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127869 (URN)10.1093/jmammal/gyv146 (DOI)000369232600001 ()
Available from: 2016-05-16 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved
2. Genetic biodiversity in the Baltic Sea: species-specific patterns challenge management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic biodiversity in the Baltic Sea: species-specific patterns challenge management
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2013 (English)In: Biodiversity and Conservation, ISSN 0960-3115, E-ISSN 1572-9710, Vol. 22, no 13-14, 3045-3065 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Information on spatial and temporal patterns of genetic diversity is a prerequisite to understanding the demography of populations, and is fundamental to successful management and conservation of species. In the sea, it has been observed that oceanographic and other physical forces can constitute barriers to gene flow that may result in similar population genetic structures in different species. Such similarities among species would greatly simplify management of genetic biodiversity. Here, we tested for shared genetic patterns in a complex marine area, the Baltic Sea. We assessed spatial patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity and differentiation in seven ecologically important species of the Baltic ecosystem-Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), northern pike (Esox lucius), European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius), blue mussel (Mytilus spp.), and bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus). We used nuclear genetic data of putatively neutral microsatellite and SNP loci from samples collected from seven regions throughout the Baltic Sea, and reference samples from North Atlantic areas. Overall, patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation among sampling regions were unique for each species, although all six species with Atlantic samples indicated strong resistence to Atlantic-Baltic gene-flow. Major genetic barriers were not shared among species within the Baltic Sea; most species show genetic heterogeneity, but significant isolation by distance was only detected in pike and whitefish. These species-specific patterns of genetic structure preclude generalizations and emphasize the need to undertake genetic surveys for species separately, and to design management plans taking into consideration the specific structures of each species.

Keyword
Population genetics, Spatial structure, Marine genetic biodiversity, Genetic diversity, Genetic divergence, Genetic barriers
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98282 (URN)10.1007/s10531-013-0570-9 (DOI)000327395300004 ()
Note

AuthorCount:19;

Available from: 2014-01-08 Created: 2014-01-03 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved
3. Temporally stable, weak genetic structuring in brackish water northern pike (Esox lucius) in the Baltic Sea indicates a contrasting divergence pattern relative to freshwater populations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temporally stable, weak genetic structuring in brackish water northern pike (Esox lucius) in the Baltic Sea indicates a contrasting divergence pattern relative to freshwater populations
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131167 (URN)
Available from: 2016-06-14 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved
4. Baltic Sea genetic biodiversity: Current knowledge relating to conservation management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Baltic Sea genetic biodiversity: Current knowledge relating to conservation management
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Population Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131222 (URN)
Available from: 2016-06-14 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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