Effects of hunting on genetic diversity, inbreeding and dispersal in Finnish black grouse ( Lyrurus tetrix )

Type Article
Date 2023-03
Language English
Author(s) Chen Rebecca S.ORCID1, Soulsbury Carl D.ORCID2, Lebigre ChristopheORCID3, Ludwig Gilbert4, Van Oers KeesORCID5, Hoffman Joseph I.ORCID1, 6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Animal Behaviour University of Bielefeld Bielefeld , Germany
2 : School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Joseph Banks Laboratories University of Lincoln Lincoln, UK
3 : UMR DECOD (Ecosystem Dynamics and Sustainability), IFREMER, INRAE Institut Agro Plouzané ,France
4 : Institute of Bioeconomy JAMK University of Applied Sciences Tarvaala ,Finland
5 : Department of Animal Ecology Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO‐KNAW) Wageningen ,The Netherlands
6 : British Antarctic Survey Cambridge, UK
Source Evolutionary Applications (1752-4571) (Wiley), 2023-03 , Vol. 16 , N. 3 , P. 625-637
DOI 10.1111/eva.13521
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) black grouse, heterozygosity, hunting, lekking, microsatellite, population structure

Intensive hunting activities such as commercial fishing and trophy hunting can have profound influences on natural populations. However, less intensive recreational hunting can also have subtle effects on animal behaviour, habitat use and movement, with implications for population persistence. Lekking species such as the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) may be especially prone to hunting as leks are temporally and spatially predictable, making them easy targets. Furthermore, inbreeding in black grouse is mainly avoided through female-biased dispersal, so any disruptions to dispersal caused by hunting could lead to changes in gene flow, increasing the risk of inbreeding. We therefore investigated the impact of hunting on genetic diversity, inbreeding and dispersal on a metapopulation of black grouse in Central Finland. We genotyped 1065 adult males and 813 adult females from twelve lekking sites (six hunted, six unhunted) and 200 unrelated chicks from seven sites (two hunted, five unhunted) at up to thirteen microsatellite loci. Our initial confirmatory analysis of sex-specific fine-scale population structure revealed little genetic structure in the metapopulation. Levels of inbreeding did not differ significantly between hunted and unhunted sites in neither adults nor chicks. However, immigration rates into hunted sites were significantly higher among adults compared to immigration into unhunted sites. We conclude that the influx of migrants into hunted sites may compensate for the loss of harvested individuals, thereby increasing gene flow and mitigating inbreeding. Given the absence of any obvious barriers to gene flow in Central Finland, a spatially heterogeneous matrix of hunted and unhunted regions may be crucial to ensure sustainable harvests into the future.

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How to cite 

Chen Rebecca S., Soulsbury Carl D., Lebigre Christophe, Ludwig Gilbert, Van Oers Kees, Hoffman Joseph I. (2023). Effects of hunting on genetic diversity, inbreeding and dispersal in Finnish black grouse ( Lyrurus tetrix ). Evolutionary Applications, 16(3), 625-637. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.13521 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00813/92534/