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Forskningsartikel2022Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

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.


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.


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

Publicerad i

Biological Conservation
2022, Volym: 272, artikelnummer: 109601