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Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of connectivity patterns: A basis for prioritizing conservation efforts for threatened populations

Gubili, C, Mariani, S, Weckworth, BV, Galpern, P, McDevitt, AD, Hebblewhite, M, Nickel, B and Musiani, M (2016) Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of connectivity patterns: A basis for prioritizing conservation efforts for threatened populations. Evolutionary Applications, 10 (2). pp. 199-211. ISSN 1752-4571

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Ecosystem fragmentation and habitat loss have been the focus of landscape management due to restrictions on contemporary connectivity and dispersal of populations. Here, we used an individual approach to determine the drivers of genetic differentiation in caribou of the Canadian Rockies. We modelled the effects of isolation by distance, landscape resistance and predation risk and evaluated the consequences of individual migratory behaviour (seasonally migratory vs. sedentary) on gene flow in this threatened species. We applied distance‐based and reciprocal causal modelling approaches, testing alternative hypotheses on the effects of geographic, topographic, environmental and local population‐specific variables on genetic differentiation and relatedness among individuals. Overall, gene flow was restricted to neighbouring local populations, with spatial coordinates, local population size, groups and elevation explaining connectivity among individuals. Landscape resistance, geographic distances and predation risk were correlated with genetic distances, with correlations threefold higher for sedentary than for migratory caribou. As local caribou populations are increasingly isolated, our results indicate the need to address genetic connectivity, especially for populations with individuals displaying different migratory behaviours, whilst maintaining quality habitat both within and across the ranges of threatened populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0603 Evolutionary Biology, 0304 Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, 0604 Genetics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley Open Access
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2020 10:36
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:46
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/eva.12443
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12413

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