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Genetic effect of transportation infrastructure on roe deer populations

Year of publication2007
Author(s)Ralph Kühn
Co-authorsKarin E. Hindenlang, Otto Holzgang, Josef Senn, Bernhard Stöckle, Christoph Sperisen
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heredity
Magazine No.98
Publication typeJournal article
Anthropogenic transportation infrastructure is a major factor of habitat fragmentation leading to genetic population fragmentation in wildlife. Assessing and understanding the impact of this deterministic factor on genetic diversity and divergence of populations is crucial to appraise the viability of wildlife populations in fragmented landscapes. In this study, the roe deer is used as an example species for the assessment of genetic differentiation of populations separated by an anthropogenic barrier. In order to detect genetic discontinuities, we screened 12 polymorphic microsatellites on 222 individuals out of 11 roe deer populations that were sampled on the east and the westside of a fenced motorway in Central Switzerland. The interaction between landscape structure and microevolutionary processes such as gene flow and drift were assessed and evaluated by different population genetic methods like F-statistics, Mantel test, spatial autocorrelation analyses, Monmonier algorithm, and principal component analysis in conjunction with geographic information system data (synthesis map). We revealed an influence of the transportation infrastructure on genetic divergence of the roe deer population examined, but no impact on genetic diversity was detected. Based on the achieved genetic findings, recommendations for management implementation were made.