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Siberian tiger’s recent population bottleneck in the Russian Far East revealed by microsatellite markers

AuthorsAlasaad, Samer ; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Chelominab, Galina; Sushitsky, Yury Petrovich; Fickel, Joerns
KeywordsAmur tiger
Panthera tigris altaica
Threatened species
Effective population size
Animal conservation
Issue DateNov-2011
CitationMammalian Biology 76 (2011) 722–726
AbstractBecause size reduced, or bottlenecked, populations are more prone to adverse events, the detection of genetic bottleneck signatures in wildlife species is highly relevant for conservation. Here we applied 11 microsatellite markers to the endangered Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) using tissue and blood samples of animals from the Primorsky region of the Russian Far East. Excess heterozygosity and mode shift in allele frequencies tests were positive, while the M-ratio test was negative, indicating the like- lihood of a contemporary rather than a historical population bottleneck. The recent genetic population bottleneck could be attributed to the well-documented demographic collapse of the Siberian tiger pop- ulation in the 1940s, when population size hit bottom with 20–30 surviving animals. The mean effective population size Ne was 14 Siberian tigers (CI95 : 12–25 animals), and the effective population size/census size ratio (Ne /N ratio) was 0.028. This is the first molecular evidence of a recent Siberian tiger population bottleneck, which is of great interest for further conservation and management plans of the highly endan- gered largest felid species, while the worryingly low effective population size challenges the optimism for the recovery of the huge Siberian cat.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2011.01.011
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