Understanding past population fluctuations and their consequences on patterns of genetic diversity is crucial for the efficient management of species of concern. While many studies show low genetic diversity after strong bottlenecks, it remains largely unclear what happened before bottlenecks. I will present the case of the Alpine ibex, a species which was at the brink of extinction about two centuries ago but recovered to stable numbers thanks to a very successful reintroduction program. Current populations harbor substantial genetic signatures of low population sizes including low genetic diversity, inbreeding and increased mutation load. It remains unclear, how threatening these genetic risk factors may be for the future of the species. A number of recent disease outbreaks raise concern about the genetic health though. Integrating recent, historic and ancient Alpine ibex individuals spanning 12'000 years, we investigate how extinction risks have evolved over millennia.
Christine Grossen, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich
Link for online participation
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The Biodiversity Seminar Series (BD-Seminars) are organized by the WSL Biodiversity Center. Every two weeks, we aim to host a seminar speaker that presents research or outreach on topics relevant to the biodiversity community at WSL. The seminars are public and are usually broadcasted online.
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