Historic and current populations of black grouse in central Europe – evidence for rapid loss of genetic diversity
2011 (English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) in central Europe have undergone a severe contraction of their range with only a few small isolated remaining populations. We here compare genetic diversity of two contemporary populations (Sallandse Heuvelrug, Netherlands and Lüneburger Heide, Germany) with historic samples from the same range collected decades ago. We use both neutral and MHC markers to test whether present small and highly fragmented populations hold lower genetic diversity compared to the former larger population. For this we applied three different types of genetic markers: nine microsatellites and 21 SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) which both have been found to be neutral, and two functional MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) genes that are presumably under selection. The contemporary small isolated populations displayed lower neutral genetic diversity compared to the historic samples. A similar trend was found for genotypes at MHC class II loci. Furthermore, population structure was more pronounced among contemporary populations compared to historic populations for microsatellites and SNPs. This effect was not as distinct for MHC which suggests that MHC has been subjected to balancing selection in the past, a process upholding genetic variation and minimizing population structure for such markers. As predicted from theory, drift is the most potent evolutionary processes affecting genetic variation at small population sizes. Genetic differentiation among present populations highlights the strong affects of population decline and habitat loss due to anthropogenic land use changes on genetic structure of natural populations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ecology Evolutionary Biology Genetics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160037OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-160037DiVA: diva2:447861