Intensive Management and Natural Genetic Variation in Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)
Galarza, J., Sánchez-Fernández, B., Fandos, P., & Soriguer, R. (2017). Intensive Management and Natural Genetic Variation in Red Deer (Cervus elaphus). Journal of Heredity, 108 (5), 496-504. doi:10.1093/jhered/esx052
Published inJournal of Heredity
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologia
© The American Genetic Association 2017. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by OUP. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
The current magnitude of big-game hunting has outpaced the natural growth of populations, making artificial breeding necessary to rapidly boost hunted populations. In this study, we evaluated if the rapid increase of red deer (Cervus elaphus) abundance, caused by the growing popularity of big-game hunting, has impacted the natural genetic diversity of the species. We compared several genetic diversity metrics between 37 fenced populations subject to intensive management and 21 wild free-ranging populations. We also included a historically protected population from a national park as a baseline for comparisons. Contrary to expectations, our results showed no significant differences in genetic diversity between wild and fenced populations. Relatively lower genetic diversity was observed in the protected population, although differences were not significant in most cases. Bottlenecks were detected in both wild and fenced populations, as well as in the protected population. Assignment tests identified individuals that did not belong to their population of origin, indicating anthropogenic movement. We discuss the most likely processes, which could have led to the observed high levels of genetic variability and lack of differentiation between wild and fenced populations and suggest cautionary points for future conservation. We illustrate our comparative approach in red deer. However, our results and interpretations can be largely applicable to most ungulates subject to big-game hunting as most of them share a common exploitation–recovery history as well as many ecological traits. ...
PublisherOxford University Press
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