Genetic tagging in the Anthropocene: Scaling ecology from alleles to ecosystems

Ecological Applications
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Anthropocene is an era of marked human impact on the world. Quantifying these impacts 51 has become central to understanding the dynamics of coupled human-natural systems, resource52 dependent livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. Ecologists are facing growing pressure to 53 quantify the size, distribution, and trajectory of wild populations in a cost-effective and socially54 acceptable manner. Genetic tagging, combined with modern computational and genetic analyses, 55 is an under-utilized tool to meet this demand, especially for wide-ranging, elusive, sensitive, and 56 low-density species. Genetic tagging studies are now revealing unprecedented insight into the 57 mechanisms that control the density, trajectory, connectivity and human-wildlife conflict for 58 populations over vast spatial scales. Here we outline the application of, and ecological inferences 59 from, new analytical techniques applied to genetically-tagged individuals, contrast this approach 60 with conventional methods, and describe how genetic tagging can be better applied to address 61 outstanding questions in ecology. We provide example analyses using a long-term genetic 62 tagging dataset of grizzly bears in the Canadian Rockies. The genetic tagging toolbox is a 63 powerful and overlooked ensemble that ecologists and conservation biologists can leverage to 64 generate evidence and meet the challenges of the Anthropocene.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Genetic tagging in the Anthropocene: Scaling ecology from alleles to ecosystems
Series title Ecological Applications
DOI 10.1002/eap.1876
Volume 29
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher ESA
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description e01876, 17 p.
First page 1
Last page 17