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24 June 2017 Genetic diversity of reintroduced American martens in Michigan's Lower Peninsula
Tamara L. Hillman, Paul Keenlance, Jennifer A. Moore, Bradley J. Swanson, Joseph J. Jacquot, Jill C. Witt, Ari Cornman
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Abstract

Reintroductions are an important conservation and management technique used to restore extirpated populations. Negative genetic consequences (e.g., diversity loss, bottlenecks, inbreeding) are often an unintentional result of reintroductions, due to a small number of founders or suboptimal habitat at release sites. American martens (Martes americana) were extirpated from Michigan's Lower Peninsula in 1911 due to habitat loss and unregulated trapping. Martens were reintroduced into 2 areas of the Lower Peninsula in 1985–1986. The Lower Peninsula reintroduction was characterized by a relatively small number of founders (85 individuals) released into 2 geographically disparate, fragmented sites. We genotyped martens sampled at the 2 release sites approximately 20–25 years since reintroduction, using 11 microsatellite loci. We detected low average allelic richness (3.92 alleles per locus), moderate levels of inbreeding (mean FIS = 0.106), and multiple loci with significant heterozygote deficiencies. Effective population size estimates were small, ranging between 6 and 27 individuals depending on the estimator and the sample group. We also detected significant population structuring between the release sites (FST = 0.093 using the most recent sample). With small population size and limited to no gene flow, we predict the 2 Lower Peninsula marten populations will continue to diverge and potentially further lose genetic diversity. This study highlights the importance of long-term genetic monitoring of reintroduced populations.

© 2017 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org
Tamara L. Hillman, Paul Keenlance, Jennifer A. Moore, Bradley J. Swanson, Joseph J. Jacquot, Jill C. Witt, and Ari Cornman "Genetic diversity of reintroduced American martens in Michigan's Lower Peninsula," Journal of Mammalogy 98(5), 1489-1496, (24 June 2017). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx075
Received: 7 September 2016; Accepted: 26 May 2017; Published: 24 June 2017
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