Increasing Population Size (increasing + population_size)

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Selected Abstracts

Population Size, Genetic Variation, and Reproductive Success in a Rapidly Declining, Self-Incompatible Perennial (Arnica montana) in The Netherlands

Sheila H. Luijten
In 26 populations in The Netherlands we investigated the relationship between population size and genetic variation using allozyme markers. Genetic variation was low in A. montana ( He = 0.088). There were positive correlations between population size and the proportion of polymorphic loci, the number of effective alleles, and expected heterozygosity, but not with observed heterozygosity. There was a significantly positive correlation between population size and the inbreeding coefficient. Generally, small populations showed heterozygote excess, which decreased with increasing population size. Possibly, the heterozygous individuals in small populations are survivors from the formerly larger populations with relatively high fitness. The F statistics showed a moderately high level of differentiation among populations ( FST = 0.140 ± 0.02), implying a low level of gene flow. For three out of four allozyme loci, we found significant inbreeding ( FIS = 0.104 ± 0.03). Only 14 of 26 populations were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium at all four polymorphic loci. In a subset of 14 populations of various size, we investigated natural seed production and offspring fitness. Population size was positively correlated with seed set, seedling size, number of flowering stems and flowerheads, adult survival, and total relative fitness, but not with the number of florets per flowerhead, germination rate, or the proportion of germination. Offspring performance in the greenhouse was not associated with genetic diversity measured on their mothers in the field. We conclude that the fitness of small populations is significantly reduced, but that there is as yet no evidence that this was caused by inbreeding. Possibly, the self-incompatibility system of A. montana has been effective in reducing selfing rates and inbreeding depression. Resumen:Arnica montana es una especie de planta rara, en declinación rápida y autoincompatible. En 26 poblaciones de los Países Bajos investigamos la relación entre el tamaño poblacional y la variación genética mediante el uso de alozimas marcadoras. La variación genética fue baja en A. montana ( He = 0.088). Existió una correlación positiva entre el tamaño poblacional y la proporción de emplazamientos polimórficos, el número de alelos efectivos y la heterocigocidad esperada, pero no con la heterocigocidad observada. Existió una correlación positiva significativa entre el tamaño poblacional y el coeficiente de endogamia. Generalmente, las poblaciones pequeñas mostraron una heterocigocidad excesiva con disminuciones en el tamaño poblacional. Posiblemente, los individuos heterocigóticos de poblaciones pequeñas son sobrevivientes de poblaciones anteriormente grandes con una adaptabilidad relativamente alta. Las pruebas de F mostraron un nivel de diferenciación moderadamente alto entre poblaciones ( FST = 0.140 ± 0.02) lo que implica un nivel bajo de flujo de genes. Para tres de cuatro de los emplazamientos de alozimas encontramos una endogamia significativa ( FIS = 0.104 ± 0.03). Solamente 14 de las 26 poblaciones estuvieron en equilibrio Hardy-Weinberg para los cuatro emplazamientos polimórficos. En un subconjunto de 14 poblaciones de varios tamaños, investigamos la producción natural de semillas y la adaptabilidad de la descendencia. El tamaño poblacional estuvo positivamente correlacionado con el juego de semillas, el tamaño del almácigo, el número de tallos en flor y de inflorescencias, la supervivencia de adultos y la adaptabilidad total relativa, pero no con el número de flores por inflorescencia, la tasa de germinación ni la proporción de la germinación. El rendimiento de la descendencia en invernaderos no estuvo asociado con la diversidad genética medida en sus madres en el campo. Concluimos que la adaptabilidad de poblaciones pequeñas está significativamente reducida, pero no existe aún evidencia de que esto sea ocasionado por endogamia. Es posible que el sistema de autoincompatibilidad de A. montana haya sido efectivo en la reducción de tasas de autofecundación y depresión de la endogamia. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2005
Daniel M. Weinreich
Abstract Fitness interactions between loci in the genome, or epistasis, can result in mutations that are individually deleterious but jointly beneficial. Such epistasis gives rise to multiple peaks on the genotypic fitness landscape. The problem of evolutionary escape from such local peaks has been a central problem of evolutionary genetics for at least 75 years. Much attention has focused on models of small populations, in which the sequential fixation of valley genotypes carrying individually deleterious mutations operates most quickly owing to genetic drift. However, valley genotypes can also be subject to mutation while transiently segregating, giving rise to copies of the high fitness escape genotype carrying the jointly beneficial mutations. In the absence of genetic recombination, these mutations may then fix simultaneously. The time for this process declines sharply with increasing population size, and it eventually comes to dominate evolutionary behavior. Here we develop an analytic expression for Ncrit, the critical population size that defines the boundary between these regimes, which shows that both are likely to operate in nature. Frequent recombination may disrupt high-fitness escape genotypes produced in populations larger than Ncrit before they reach fixation, defining a third regime whose rate again slows with increasing population size. We develop a novel expression for this critical recombination rate, which shows that in large populations the simultaneous fixation of mutations that are beneficial only jointly is unlikely to be disrupted by genetic recombination if their map distance is on the order of the size of single genes. Thus, counterintuitively, mass selection alone offers a biologically realistic resolution to the problem of evolutionary escape from local fitness peaks in natural populations. [source]

Population stability in salmon species: effects of population size and female reproductive allocation

Sigurd Einum
Summary 1Population stability (i.e. level of temporal variation in population abundance) is linked commonly to levels of environmental disturbances. However, populations may also differ in their propensity to dampen or amplify the effects of exogenous forces. Here time-series of population estimates were used to test for such differences among 104 populations of six salmon species. 2At the species level, Atlantic (Salmo salar L.), chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Walbaum) and coho salmon (O. kisutch W) were less variable than sockeye (O. nerka W) and pink salmon (O. gorbuscha W). Chum salmon (O. keta W) was more similar to sockeye and pink salmon. These differences may be related in part to differences in body size, and hence susceptibility to adverse environmental conditions, at the time when they migrate to the sea or lakes. 3At the population level no effect of fecundity on variability was found, in contrast to findings for marine fishes, nor of egg size. Whereas substantial differences in the temporal stability of environmental factors among geographically close populations may over-ride any effects of fecundity or egg size in fresh water, this is less likely in the marine environment where spatial autocorrelations of environmental variability are more pronounced. 4Variation in population sizes was related positively to the duration of time-series when using standard deviations of ln-transformed population estimates, and also when using linearly detrended population variation, suggesting non-linear long-term abundance trends in salmon populations that extend beyond the 7-year period of the shortest time-series. 5When controlling for differences among species, stability increased with increasing population size, and it is hypothesized that this is due to large populations having a more complex spatial and genetic structure than small populations due to wider spatial distribution. The effects of population size on stability, as well as differences in stability among species, suggest that population- and organism-specific characteristics may interact with exogenous forces to shape salmon population dynamics. [source]

The influence of increasing population size and vegetation productivity on elephant distribution in the Kruger National Park

Abstract Decisions to reduce the impacts of large herbivores on biodiversity in protected areas are often based on controlling their numbers. However, numbers per se may not be the foremost consideration when managing impacts. This is because density-related changes in distribution can also affect habitat utilization and hence, impact. In this study we tested whether changes in the distribution of African elephants are associated with increasing population size. We used spatially explicit count data collected during the dry seasons from 1998 to 2004 in South Africa's Kruger National Park. We did this at five spatial scales and in landscapes defined by vegetation, geology, climate and soils. We then investigated whether observed distributions and grid-cell-specific densities were associated with the remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a measure of productivity and therefore food resource availability at the landscape scale. Consistent with density mediated changes, we found that elephant grid-cell occupancy increased with population size, while grid-cell-specific density became less variable. In addition, the combined distribution of bull groups and breeding herds became less clumped with increasing population size. We further found that within landscapes elephants were present on grid-cells with higher NDVI values, but that the influence of NDVI during the dry season on densities among landscapes may be weak. These results suggest that NDVI was more indicative of structural habitat choices such as woody vegetation than food availability per se. Our study highlights the need to consider factors other than population size alone when formulating management decisions to reduce large herbivore impacts on biodiversity in protected areas. [source]