Genetic & demographic monitoring

 What is genetic monitoring?

 

Adapted from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_monitoring), genetic monitoring is the use of molecular genetic markers to (i) identify and monitor individuals, species or populations, or (ii) to quantify changes in population genetic metrics (such as effective population size, genetic diversity, and population size) over time, (iii) detect change in frequency of adaptive molecular variation (Fig. 1). Genetic monitoring can thus be used to detect changes in species abundance and/or diversity, and has become an important tool in conservation.

 

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Fig. 1. Categories of genetic monitoring. Category I includes the use of diagnostic molecular markers for traditional population monitoring through the identifi cation of individuals and species, and the repeated (temporal) assessment of population size. Category II includes the use of genetic markers to monitor population genetic parameters. Category III involves use of DNA markers to detect changes in frequency of adaptive alleles or gene expression associated with environmental change.  From Allendorf et al. (2013), Modified from Schwartz et al. (2007) .

 

Why is genetic monitoring important?

 

It is crucial to estimate and monitor the effective number of breeders (Nb) in natural populations to allow early detection of population declines.  Early detection of a decline can help prevent loss of genetic diversity, population extirpation, and loss of ecosystem services often provided by local populations.  Nb monitoring also allows detection of population growth or expansion following species restoration or spread of invasive species (Tallmon et al. 2012). 

 

Future tools – coming soon.

 

  •  Programs or links to programs to compute Nb (number of breeders)
  •  A tool to compute confidence intervals on LDNe estimates of Nb

 Additional Reading

 Allendorf, F.W., G. Luikart, and S. Aitken. 2013. Conservation and the Genetics of Populations [Second Edition]. Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 642.   [3rd edition commissioned for 2016/2017]

 

Luikart, G., N. Ryman, D.A. Tallmon, M.K. Schwartz, and F.W. Allendorf.  2010.  Estimating census and effective population sizes:  Increasing usefulness of genetic methods.  Invited Review,Conservation Genetics, 11: 355-373.

 

Tallmon DA,  Robin S. Waples Dave Gregovich • Michael K. Schwartz.  2010.  Detecting population recovery using gametic disequilibrium-based effective population size estimates.  Conservation Genet Resour (2012) 4:987–989.

 

Schwartz, M.K., G. Luikart, and R.S. Waples.  2007.  Genetic monitoring as a promising tool for conservation and management.Trends in Ecology and Evolution,  22:25-33.

 

Waples, R.A., T. Antao, and G. Luikart.  2014. Effects of overlapping generations on linkage disequilibrium estimates of effective population size. Genetics, 197: 769–780.

 

Waples, R.A., G. Luikart, D.A. Tallmon, and J. Faulkner.  2013.  Simple life history traits explain key effective population size ratios across diverse taxa.  Proceedings of Royal Society B.  280: 20131339doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1339.

 

 

 

 

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