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

Chapter 4. Feral globetrotters

Koch, K., Algar, D., & Schwenk, K. (2014). Feral Cat Globetrotters: genetic traces of historic human-mediated dispersal and recent gene flow. Genetic diversity and phylogeography of Australian feral cats, 78.

Endemic species on islands are highly susceptible to local extinction if they are exposed to invasive species. In particular invasive predators, such as feral cats have been introduced to islands around the world, causing major losses in local biodiversity. However, control and management of invasive species depends on information about the source populations and the level of current gene flow. Here we investigate the origin of feral cats of Hawaiian and Australian islands to verify their European ancestry and a potential pattern of isolation by distance. We analysed the genetic structure and diversity of feral cats from eleven islands as well as samples from Malaysia and Europe using mitochondrial DNA (ND5 and ND6 region) and microsatellite data. Our results suggest that Hawaiian cats originate from Europe and overall no pattern of isolation by distance was detected. Instead we found low levels of genetic differentiation between samples from Tasman Island, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe, Cocos (Keeling) Island and Asia. Since these populations are separated by up to 10,000 kilometres, we assume that this pattern is explained by extensive passive dispersal on global maritime trade routes in the beginning of the 19th century, connecting Australian, Asian and Hawaiian Islands. Thus, islands populations which are characterized by low levels of current gene flow represent valuable sources of information on historical, human-mediated global dispersal patterns of feral cats

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