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A demo-genetic analysis of a recovering population of otters in central Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology.
2008 (English)In: Animal Conservation, ISSN 1367-9430, E-ISSN 1469-1795, Vol. 11, no 6, 529-534 p.Article 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 11, no 6, 529-534 p.
Keyword [en]
otter, PVA, genetics, demographic stochasticity, extinction
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-95534DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00214.xISI: 000261780600012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-95534DiVA: diva2:169789
Available from: 2007-03-02 Created: 2007-03-02 Last updated: 2016-04-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Conservation Genetics of the Eurasian Otter in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conservation Genetics of the Eurasian Otter in Sweden
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. 60 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 278
Keyword
Ecology, in situ conservation, individual identification, microsatellites, mtDNA, noninvasive genetic sampling, population dynamics, population size, PVA, restocking, Ekologi, Lutra lutra
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7633 (URN)978-91-554-6816-3 (ISBN)
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

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