Characterisation the recolonisation of Antechinus flavipes following the restoration of a production landscape and its genetic implications in the Jarrah forest
Mijangos Araujo, Jose Luis (2015) Characterisation the recolonisation of Antechinus flavipes following the restoration of a production landscape and its genetic implications in the Jarrah forest. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.
Ecological restoration is emerging as a promising activity to contribute to biodiversity conservation. There is presently an increasing need to develop a stronger relationship between genetics and restoration. This is particularly necessary to investigate the effectiveness of restoration to maintain and conserve genetic diversity of recolonising faunal populations. This thesis investigated the links between genetics and restoration and how understanding the contribution of genetics can be used to further improve restoration outputs. A search of scientific literature identified 160 papers employing a genetic approach within a restoration context. Although genetic research in restoration is rapidly growing (59% of the identified articles were published during the last four years), I found that studies could make better use of the extensive toolbox developed by fields of applied genetics. 42% of reviewed studies used genetic information to evaluate or monitor restoration and 58% provided genetic information to guide pre-restoration decisionmaking processes. Reviewed studies suggest that restoration practitioners often overlook the importance of including genetic aspects within their restoration goals. Even though there is a genetic basis influencing the provision of ecosystem services, few studies inquired this relationship. I provide a view of research gaps, future directions and challenges in the genetics of restoration.
To evaluate how restoration affects the genetic diversity and dynamics of vertebrate species, this study uses a small marsupial (Antechinus flavipes) as a model. To this end, nine nuclear microsatellites and a 565-bp sequence of the mtDNA control region were used. Antechinus flavipes individuals were sampled in three locations with different disturbances (mining/restoration, dieback infected and dieback infected/mining) to investigate whether genetic bottlenecks, dispersal barriers, adverse environmental conditions or a skewed sex ratio affects genetic diversity and gene flow of this species. The findings showed:
1. A lack of evidence for the disruption of gene flow, suggesting that current restoration practices have been effective in maintaining adequate levels of landscape connectivity in this species.
2. There is a non-significant correlation between the distribution of individual heterozygosity and environmental conditions, suggesting that conditions in restored areas do not have a negative influence on genetic diversity.
3. Non-significant results from bottleneck tests probably indicate that restored areas provide enough resources to sustain several reproducing individuals and thus avoiding founder effects.
4. Parameters of neutral genetic diversity were high in both groups of individuals sampled in restored and in unmined sites and were not significantly different.
5. No detectable reduction of genetic diversity, despite a sampling effect that resulted in a skewed sex ratio.
6. The structure of a network of mtDNA suggests that historic gene flow occurred across the three locations.
|Publication Type:||Thesis (Masters by Research)|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Veterinary and Life Sciences|
|Supervisor:||Craig, Michael, Spencer, Peter and Pacioni, Carlo|
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