Farmed European mallards are genetically different and cause introgression in the wild population following releases
2016 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
The practice of restocking already viable populations to increase harvest potential has since long been common in forestry, fisheries and wildlife management. The potential risks of restocking native species have long been overshadowed by the related issue of invasive alien species. However, during the last decade releases of native species with potentially non-native genome have received more attention. A suitable model to study genetic effects of large-scale releases of native species is the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, being the most widespread duck in the world, largely migratory, and an important quarry species. More than 3 million unfledged hatchlings are released each year around Europe to increase local harvest. The aims of this study were to determine if wild and released farmed Mallards differ genetically, if there are signs of previous or ongoing introgression between wild and farmed birds, and if the genetic structure of the wild Mallard population has changed since large-scale releases started in Europe in the 1970s. Using 360 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) we found that the genetic structure differed among historical wild, present-day wild, and farmed Mallards in Europe. We also found signs of introgression in the wild Mallard population, that is, individuals with a genetic background of farmed stock are part of the present free-living population. Although only a small proportion of the released Mallards appears to survive to merge with the free-living breeding population, their numbers are still so large that the genetic impact may have significance for the wild population in terms of individual survival and longterm fitness.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-15340OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-15340DiVA: diva2:912890
The 7th North American Duck Symposium (NADS7), Annapolis, Maryland, 1-5 February 2016