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Conservation Genetics of the Eurasian Otter in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, molecular genetic methods were used to study a threatened species, the Eurasian otter. Estimates of population size and population dynamics parameters were obtained, the genetic effects of a restocking program was evaluated, and a population viability analysis was conducted to assess which demographic parameters are most important for the future viability of an otter population. Many of the studies were based on noninvasive genetic sampling of faeces.

In the genetic evaluation of the restocking program, it was found that the released otters had contributed to subsequent generations. However, the effects were to a large degree limited to the near surroundings of the release areas.

Comparison of two census methods, snow-tracking and noninvasive genetic census based on faeces, showed that approximately only half of the otters detected with the genetic census were found with the snow-tracking census. It is recommended to combine these two methods to obtain the most reliable estimates of population size.

A short-term study on population dynamics in otters showed that apparent survival was higher in females than in males and that the rate of addition was also high and likely influenced by migration.

The population viability analysis incorporated both genetics and demography and revealed that survival to first reproduction was the most crucial demographic parameter affecting the viability of the study population. This result suggests that conservation efforts should be focused on protocols that enhance the survival prospects of young females. Environmental stochasticity was also found to have large effects on the probability of extinction of this population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2007. , p. 60
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 278
Keywords [en]
Ecology, in situ conservation, individual identification, microsatellites, mtDNA, noninvasive genetic sampling, population dynamics, population size, PVA, restocking
Keywords [sv]
Ekologi
Keywords [la]
Lutra lutra
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7633ISBN: 978-91-554-6816-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7633DiVA, id: diva2:169790
Public defence
2007-03-23, Zootissalen, F d zoologiska institutionen, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2009-03-31Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Genetic evaluation of an otter translocation program
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic evaluation of an otter translocation program
Show others...
2004 (English)In: Conservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621 (Print) 1572-9737 (Online), Vol. 5, no 1, p. 79-88Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95530 (URN)
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2009-03-31Bibliographically approved
2. The evolution of a restocked otter population in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The evolution of a restocked otter population in Sweden
(English)Manuscript (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95531 (URN)
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved
3. Reliability of noninvasive genetic census of otters compared to field censuses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reliability of noninvasive genetic census of otters compared to field censuses
2007 (English)In: Conservation Genetics, ISSN 1566-0621, E-ISSN 1572-9737, Vol. 8, no 5, p. 1097-1107Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conservation and management actions are often highly dependent on accurate estimations of population sizes. However, these estimates are difficult to obtain for elusive and rare species. We compared two census methods for Eurasian otter: snow tracking and noninvasive genetic census based on the genotyping of faecal samples. With the noninvasive genetic census we detected the presence of almost twice as many otters as with snow tracking (23 and 10–15, respectively), and mark-recapture estimates based on the genetic census indicated that the real number of otters could be even higher. Our results indicate that snow tracking tends to underestimate the number of individuals and also that it is more susceptible to subjective assessment. We compared the strengths and weaknesses of the two methods.

Keywords
Individual identification, Faeces, Monitoring, Population size, Snow tracking
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95532 (URN)10.1007/s10592-006-9266-y (DOI)000248850700009 ()
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Population dynamics parameters obtained by noninvasive genetic methods in a Eurasian otter population
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Population dynamics parameters obtained by noninvasive genetic methods in a Eurasian otter population
(English)Manuscript (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95533 (URN)
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2010-01-14Bibliographically approved
5. A demo-genetic analysis of a recovering population of otters in central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A demo-genetic analysis of a recovering population of otters in central Sweden
2008 (English)In: Animal Conservation, ISSN 1367-9430, E-ISSN 1469-1795, Vol. 11, no 6, p. 529-534Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We performed a demo-genetic population viability analysis on a recovering population of otters Lutra lutra in Central Sweden, using data on population size, survival and genetic data from microsatellites. Population data were obtained from genotyping faeces. At present, the size and genetic variability of the population is increasing. We found that survival to first reproduction was the most crucial demographic parameter, and that even slight changes downward in this parameter, might lead to a declining population trajectory. Human factors that can affect mortality are traffic, fishing equipment and traps, and we argue that efforts to minimize road kills by means of safe passages as well as careful fishing efforts in streams and lakes would reduce the risk of extinction. In general, even though the population is now growing and has no inbreeding problem, its small  abundance could make it vulnerable to chance events and environmental perturbations.

Keywords
otter, PVA, genetics, demographic stochasticity, extinction
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95534 (URN)10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00214.x (DOI)000261780600012 ()
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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