This study was financially supported by the Academy of Finland (grant numbers 115961, 119200, 140767 and 218107 to E. K. and 132190 to T. M.), the Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research of the Academy of Finland, and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Maintenance of genetic diversity in cyclic populations—a longitudinal analysis in Myodes glareolus
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2012
© 2011 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 2, Issue 7, pages 1491–1502, July 2012
How to Cite
Rikalainen, K., Aspi, J., Galarza, J. A., Koskela, E. and Mappes, T. (2012), Maintenance of genetic diversity in cyclic populations—a longitudinal analysis in Myodes glareolus. Ecology and Evolution, 2: 1491–1502. doi: 10.1002/ece3.277
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2012
- Received: 12 February 2012; Revised: 5 April 2012; Accepted: 11 April 2012
- Allelic richness;
- effective population size;
- genetic diversity;
- Myodes glareolus;
- private alleles;
- rodent cycles
Conspicuous cyclic changes in population density characterize many populations of small northern rodents. The extreme crashes in individual number are expected to reduce the amount of genetic variation within a population during the crash phases of the population cycle. By long-term monitoring of a bank vole (Myodes glareolus) population, we show that despite the substantial and repetitive crashes in the population size, high heterozygosity is maintained throughout the population cycle. The striking population density fluctuation in fact only slightly reduced the allelic richness of the population during the crash phases. Effective population sizes of vole populations remained also relatively high even during the crash phases. We further evaluated potential mechanisms contributing to the genetic diversity of the population and found that the peak phases are characterized by both a change in spatial pattern of individuals and a rapid accession of new alleles probably due to migration. We propose that these events act together in maintaining the high genetic diversity within cyclical populations.