isle royale, michigan grey wolves and genetic drift

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Isle Royale, Michigan Grey Wolves and Genetic Drift. Conservation Genetics of the Endangered Isle Royale Gray Wolf Wayne et al. 1991. Conservation Biology, 5: 41-51. Presented by Matt Scruggs, Environmental Science, GEOG 370, 1 March 2010. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Isle Royale, Michigan Grey Wolves and Genetic DriftConservation Genetics of the Endangered Isle Royale Gray WolfWayne et al. 1991. Conservation Biology, 5: 41-51.Presented by Matt Scruggs, Environmental Science, GEOG 370, 1 March 2010

  • Understanding Variation in PopulationGenetics based onSpatial FactorsProblem: Small populations such as the gray wolf population of Isle Royale are more vulnerable to disease, viability and survivorship issues because of the effects of genetic drift. A key question related to this issue is how best to conserve their population with individuals from other populations (which individuals should be used).Hypothesis: Certain mainland wolf populations possess genetic traits similar to Isle Royale wolves; the Isles wolf populations history can be related to those populations.

  • Methods, data & test:Standard genetic analyses paired with genetic measures of migrationPopulation genetics tools: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, gene flow, and genetic drift testsMeasures of migration: Genotypes from different localities can often be connected in a network reflecting migration patterns among populations (Wayne et al. 1991).Mitochondrial DNA analysis proved particularly useful for assessing divergence among wolf populations

  • Results...the appearance of unique, coyote-derived genotypes in east Ontario and Quebec wolves may indicate that dispersal between Minnesota and Quebec is limited and that hybridization between wolves and Quebec coyotes...may be occurring (Wayne et al. 1991)Enabled the researchers to see which wolf populations were moving where in North America/Canada

  • Sampled Population Localities

  • ConclusionsIsle Royale wolves did not deserve conservation from a genetic standpoint, but only for their use as a predator-prey natural experimentSmall population habitats are unfavorable for species that are vulnerable to genetic inviabilitiesCriticisms:Wayne et al. (1991) did not consider larger geographic influences on genetic variation, such as allopatric gene flow/migration, which is highly prevalent in island populations