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Effects of translocation and climatic events on the population genetic structure of black bears in New Mexico

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/21013

Effects of translocation and climatic events on the population genetic structure of black bears in New Mexico

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Title: Effects of translocation and climatic events on the population genetic structure of black bears in New Mexico
Author: Winslow, Frederic
Advisor(s): Wolf, Blair
Committee Member(s): Cook, Joseph
Roemer, Gary
Department: University of New Mexico. Biology Dept.
Subject(s): Black Bear, DNA, Microsatellites, philopatry, Ursus americanus
LC Subject(s): Black bear--Migration--New Mexico.
Black bear--New Mexico--Genetics.
Population biology--New Mexico.
Animal population genetics--New Mexico.
Biodiversity--Climatic factors--New Mexico
Biodiversity--Social aspects--New Mexico.
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: Population structure of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in New Mexico has been shaped by anthropogenic and natural forces. Black bears occur in habitat islands throughout New Mexico with natural movement among islands influenced by periodic drought, resource limitations and dispersal. Both natural movement and human mediated translocations primarily involve male black bears because of their tendency to move farther distances and more frequent conflict with human dominated landscapes than females. Using DNA microsatellite analysis to investigate the degree of differentiation between different population segments (Fst =0.025 across genetic loci, range = 0.018-0.032) we determined that black bear populations in New Mexico are relatively undifferentiated. Lack of genetic structure is due to bear movement from a combination of distance between population clusters, climatic variation affecting resource availability, anthropogenic-mediated movement of nuisance bears and potentially a population contraction during the early part of the 1900’s. Testing matrilineages through mitochondrial DNA of this species with high female philopatry would help to answer the question of how much anthropogenic movement has affected population structure.
Graduation Date: July 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/21013

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