Conservation Research Laboratory: General Conservation Projects

Kendell Bennett

How Does the Size of an Introduced Population Influence Genetic Diversity Over Time?
  • Time Period: January 2015 - Present

  • Location:Various Sky Islands, AZ, U.S.A.

Background: The founder's effect and continued isolation lead to a loss of genetic differentiation between colonizing populations and the population from which they came. In recent years this has become an area of concern when species are introduced to an area for conservation purposes. In Arizona and New Mexico several populations of Abert's squirrels were successfully introduced for hunting purposes on sky islands from 1900-1972. The numbers of individuals introduced in these areas varied and is well documented, making them ideal for testing the effects of introduction size on genetic diversity over time.

Research: Using microsatellite markers I will compare the level genetic diversity conserved from the source population in introduced populations. I hope that through this research I will be able to inform reintroduction efforts and other conservation decisions involving the conservation of genetic diversity.