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Bridges for the wolverine (Gulo gulo): Spatial and non-spatial population genetic analysis in STRUCTURE and BAPS and implications for decision makers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The conservation of large predators is among the most challenging tasks facing conservation biologists and the protection of the wolverine (Gulo gulo) is no exception. Studying and monitoring these vastly roaming carnivores is only possible due to the collective effort from the Norwegian Nature and Swedish Environmental protection agencies and the group for Monitoring of Large Carnivores at Uppsala University. Wolverines are as so many large predators beloved from the ones and hatefully persecuted from the others. After facing a dramatic bottleneck in the 1970s, the wolverines have been given protective status in Norway and Sweden and could increase their numbers again until licensed hunting was allowed in 1993. Today legal and illegal hunting as well as other anthropogenic factors work against that trend. To observe population trends genetic monitoring of the wolverine has been pursued over a number of years. Data has been collected in Norway and Sweden from sampling of tissue, hair and faeces. This study explores SNP data from tissue samples in the statistical programs R and STRUCTURE for analysing multi-locus genotype data to investigate population structure and the program BAPS for spatial genetic clustering. All analyses agreed on the clustering of the wolverine population into two distinct populations. In Scandinavia there are, besides the Sarek area in northern Sweden, very little truly wild and undisturbed territories left. Human impact plays a well-known, but little studied role in mammal population analyses. Conclusively, the spatial clustering results are projected onto maps displaying anthropogenic development. It shows that the fast growing human population and consecutive urban development around Trondheim in Norway might cause a major obstacle to gene flow between the populations south and north of that belt of urbanization. In order to allow gene flow and thus saving the genetic variety and long-term survival of the Scandinavian wolverine population, the investigation and construction of Wildlife crossings or incorporating other measures to include wildlife into our ever changing landscapes is called into focus for decision makers in city and road development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
wolverine, genetic analysis, population patterns
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-246168OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-246168DiVA: diva2:792133
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
2014-06-04, 14:15 (English)
Monitoring of Large Carnivores, Uppsala University
Available from: 2016-09-28 Created: 2015-03-03 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved

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