[MARMAM] New publication: The genetic legacy of extreme exploitation in a polar vertebrate

A.J. Paijmans a.paijmans at uni-bielefeld.de
Wed Mar 25 00:56:29 PDT 2020


Dear Colleagues,

We are please to announce the following paper recently published in 
Scientific Reports: "The genetic legacy of extreme exploitation in a 
polar vertebrate".

The paper is open access and freely available for download at:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61560-8

ABSTRACT

Understanding the effects of human exploitation on the genetic 
composition of wild populations is important for predicting species 
persistence and adaptive potential. We therefore investigated the 
genetic legacy of large-scale commercial harvesting by reconstructing, 
on a global scale, the recent demographic history of the Antarctic fur 
seal (/Arctocephalus gazella/), a species that was hunted to the brink 
of extinction by 18^th and 19^th century sealers. Molecular genetic data 
from over 2,000 individuals sampled from all eight major breeding 
locations across the species’ circumpolar geographic distribution, show 
that at least four relict populations around Antarctica survived 
commercial hunting. Coalescent simulations suggest that all of these 
populations experienced severe bottlenecks down to effective population 
sizes of around 150–200. Nevertheless, comparably high levels of neutral 
genetic variability were retained as these declines are unlikely to have 
been strong enough to deplete allelic richness by more than around 15%. 
These findings suggest that even dramatic short-term declines need not 
necessarily result in major losses of diversity, and explain the 
apparent contradiction between the high genetic diversity of this 
species and its extreme exploitation history.


All the best,

Anneke Paijmans

-- 
Anneke Paijmans, MSc
PhD candidate

Bielefeld University
Department of Animal Behaviour
Room 203a
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld
Germany
Phone: +49 521 106 2192

https://thehoffmanlab.com/group/anneke-paijmans/

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