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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Potential for increased connectivity between differentiated wolverine populations

Lansink, G. M. J.; Kleven, O.; Ekblom, R.; Spong, G.; Kopatz, A.; Mattisson, J.; Persson, J.; Kojola, I.; Holmala, K.; Ollila, T.; Ellegren, H.; Kindberg, J.; Flagstad, O.; Aspi, J.; Kvist, L.

Abstract

Information on genetic population structure provides important knowledge for species conservation. Yet, few studies combine extensive genetic data to evaluate the structure and population dynamics of transboundary populations. Here we used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes to analyze the genetic population structure of wolverines (Gulo gulo) across Fennoscandia using a long-term monitoring dataset of 1708 individuals. Clear population subdivision was detected between the Scandinavian and the eastern Finnish population with a steep cline in the contact zone. While the Scandinavian population showed isolation by distance, large swaths of this population were characterized by high connectivity. Areas with high resistance to gene flow are likely explained by a combination of factors, such as historical isolation and founder effects. From a conservation perspective, promoting gene flow from the population in eastern Finland to the northwest of Scandinavia could augment the less variable Scandinavian population, and increase the demographic resilience of all subpopulations. Overall, the large areas of low resistance to gene flow suggest that transboundary cooperation with aligned actions of harvest and conflict mitigation could improve genetic connectivity across Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

Keywords

Conservation genetics; Population structure; Mustelids; Wildlife monitoring; Genetic markers

Published in

Biological Conservation
2022, volume: 272, article number: 109601
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCI LTD

Authors' information

Lansink, G. M. J.
University of Oulu
Kleven, O.
Norwegian Institute Nature Research
Ekblom, R.
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Kopatz, A.
Norwegian Institute Nature Research
Mattisson, J.
Norwegian Institute Nature Research
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Kojola, I.
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Holmala, K.
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Ollila, T.
Metsahallitus Pk and Wildlife Finland
Ellegren, H.
Uppsala University
Kindberg, J. (Kindberg, Jonas)
Norwegian Institute Nature Research
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Flagstad, O.
Norwegian Institute Nature Research
Aspi, Jouni
University of Oulu
Kvist, L.
University of Oulu

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Wildlife Management
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109601

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/118582