Using genetic methods to investigate dispersal in two badger (Meles meles) populations with different ecological characteristics

Frantz, A. C., Do Linh San, E., Pope, L. C. and Burke, T. (2010) Using genetic methods to investigate dispersal in two badger (Meles meles) populations with different ecological characteristics. Heredity, 104 5: 493-501. doi:10.1038/hdy.2009.136


Author Frantz, A. C.
Do Linh San, E.
Pope, L. C.
Burke, T.
Title Using genetic methods to investigate dispersal in two badger (Meles meles) populations with different ecological characteristics
Journal name Heredity   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0018-067X
1365-2540
Publication date 2010-05-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/hdy.2009.136
Volume 104
Issue 5
Start page 493
End page 501
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
 Understanding the dispersal behaviour of a species is important for understanding its ecology and evolution. Dispersal in the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is believed to be very limited, with social groups forming primarily through the retention of offspring. However, most of our knowledge of dispersal in this species comes from studies of high-density populations in the United Kingdom, where badgers are atypical in their behaviour, physiology, ecology and prey specialization. In this study we use genetic methods to compare dispersal patterns in a British and a Swiss population that differ in their ecology and demography. We present well-supported evidence that badgers disperse much further in the low-density continental population, where dispersal may also be female biased. Limited dispersal thus seems not to be an intrinsic behavioural characteristic of the species. Rather, dispersal patterns seem to vary depending on population demography and, ultimately, habitat quality and characteristics. This could have important management consequences, as dispersal can affect the impact of local extinction, and host dispersal has a particularly important role in disease transmission. Even though concentrated studies of a species in a single location may not provide representative data for the species, there are few mammalian studies that compare demography and dispersal patterns across contrasting habitats. Our results provide an example of phenotypic plasticity and suggest that dispersal is determined by the interaction of individual, social and environmental factors that may differ between populations.
Keyword Habitat specific dispersal
High density population
Isolation by distance
Low density population
Sex biased dispersal
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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