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Title: Conservation genetics of the common dormouse muscardinus avellanarius in UK
Author: Naim, Darlina Md
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 0220
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2010
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As anthropogenic factors have threaten species worldwide, conservation of a species through ex situ (i. e. captive breeding, reintroduction) provides one of the most powerful tools for species conservation. However, baseline genetic data prior to reintroduction of captive-bred individuals is essential for guiding such efforts, but this has not been gathered previously in the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius. Thus, this thesis provides the first comprehensive study of spatial and temporal patterns of genetic diversity of populations of M. avellanarius in UK, with specific reference to investigate the breeding structure and contemporary and historical patterns of gene flow, both in natural and reintroduced populations. Additionally, this thesis analysed patterns of variation at two regions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to broader geographic divergence among UK populations of M avellanarius. The main findings in this thesis are: (1) reproductive behaviour of reintroduced M avellanarius population was retained as in the wild population despite enforced bottleneck during captivity that could change behaviour of a species, (2) both ecological and molecular genetic data provide broadly congruent estimates about the dispersal characteristics of M avellanarius in a large, continuous habitat. A significant isolation-by-distance (IBD) pattern at a fine scale (less than 1 km) was apparent within continuous populations with males more mobile than females (male-biased dispersal), (3) gene flow was generally restricted among separate populations (i. e. between habitat patches) at a scale of 1-10 km, (4) using mtDNA sequence data, three divergent phylogenetic lineages (Northwestern, Central and Southern) were recognized in the UK, implying colonization of the UK from separate refugia (e. g. continental Europe), that probably diverged during the Pleistocene period but prior to the last Ice Age. Interestingly, genealogical evidence revealed that the source populations of captive bred M avellanarius that were released in Wych (northern England) are from the southern UK, thus highlighting the use of genetics for conservation. The results of these studies will not only contribute to the understanding of dispersal characteristics and how this process has structured the populations at small and large scales, but also add significantly to biological and evolutionary understanding on M avellanarius, which can be directly applied to the ongoing conservation and management of this species.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available