Jul 11, 2014

Genetic diversity in introduced populations with an Allee effect

Genetics
Meike J WittmannDirk Metzler

Abstract

A phenomenon that strongly influences the demography of small introduced populations and thereby potentially their genetic diversity is the demographic Allee effect, a reduction in population growth rates at small population sizes. We take a stochastic modeling approach to investigate levels of genetic diversity in populations that successfully overcame either a strong Allee effect, in which populations smaller than a certain critical size are expected to decline, or a weak Allee effect, in which the population growth rate is reduced at small sizes but not negative. Our results indicate that compared to successful populations without an Allee effect, successful populations with a strong Allee effect tend to (1) derive from larger founder population sizes and thus have a higher initial amount of genetic variation, (2) spend fewer generations at small population sizes where genetic drift is particularly strong, and (3) spend more time around the critical population size and thus experience more genetic drift there. In the case of multiple introduction events, there is an additional increase in diversity because Allee-effect populations tend to derive from a larger number of introduction events than other populations. Altogether, ...Continue Reading

  • References11
  • Citations6

References

  • References11
  • Citations6

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Founder Effect
School Age Population
Underpopulation
Variation (Genetics)

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