Inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in a reintroduced population of mauritius kestrel

Ewing, S.R., Nager, R.G. , Nicoll, M.A.C., Aumjaud, A., Jones, C.G. and Keller, L.F. (2008) Inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in a reintroduced population of mauritius kestrel. Conservation Biology, 22(2), pp. 395-404. (doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00884.x) (PMID:18294297)

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Many populations have recovered from severe bottlenecks either naturally or through intensive conservation management. In the past, however, few conservation programs have monitored the genetic health of recovering populations. We conducted a conservation genetic assessment of a small, reintroduced population of Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) to determine whether genetic deterioration has occurred since its reintroduction. We used pedigree analysis that partially accounted for individuals of unknown origin to document that (1) inbreeding occurred frequently (2.6% increase per generation; NeI = 18.9), (2) 25% of breeding pairs were composed of either closely or moderately related individuals, (3) genetic diversity has been lost from the population (1.6% loss per generation; NeV = 32.1) less rapidly than the corresponding increase in inbreeding, and (4) ignoring the contribution of unknown individuals to a pedigree will bias the metrics derived from that pedigree, ultimately obscuring the prevailing genetic dynamics. The rates of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in the subpopulation of Mauritius Kestrel we examined were extreme and among the highest yet documented in a wild vertebrate population. Thus, genetic deterioration may affect this population's long-term viability. Remedial conservation strategies are needed to reduce the impact of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in this species. We suggest that schemes to monitor genetic variation after reintroduction should be an integral component of endangered species recovery programs.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Keller, Prof Lukas and Nager, Dr Ruedi
Authors: Ewing, S.R., Nager, R.G., Nicoll, M.A.C., Aumjaud, A., Jones, C.G., and Keller, L.F.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Journal Name:Conservation Biology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1523-1739
Published Online:20 February 2008

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
336701Environmental conditions and the magnitude of parental inbreeding depression in the Mauritius KestrelLukas KellerNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)2002/00387SCHOOL OF LIFE SCIENCES