Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Friday, 8 August 2014

Capter 3: A voyage to Terra Australis

Koch, K., Algar, D., Searle, J., Pfenninger, M., & Schwenk, K. (2014). A voyage to Terra Australis: human-mediated dispersal of cats. Genetic diversity and phylogeography of Australian feral cats, 56.

Domestic and ship cats have been transported as human commensals around the world, especially in the last 200 years. They have given rise to populations of feral cats in many places. The feral population in Australia is believed to have led to the decline and extinction of native mammal species, but until now the time and origin of the cat introduction into Australia is unclear. Here we investigate the history of arrival of cats to Australia, considering the possibility that this was pre- or post-European settlement, and the potential for admixture. We analyse the genetic structure and diversity of feral cats from six locations on mainland Australia and seven offshore islands as well as samples from Malaysia and Europe using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA data. Our data suggest that cats in Australia originated from Europe with possible isolated cases of invasions from Asian locations. We find low genetic differentiation between samples from Dirk Hartog Island, Flinders Island, Tasman Island and Cocos (Keeling) Island (Australian Indian Ocean Territory). Historical records suggest that introduction of cats to these islands occurred at the time of exploration and in connection with the pearling, whaling and sealing trades at the beginning of the 19th century. On-going influx of domestic cats into the feral cat population is causing the Australian mainland populations to be genetically differentiated from those on Dirk Hartog, Tasman and Flinders Islands, which exhibit remnants of the historically introduced cat genotypes.

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