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Will an “Island” population of voles be recolonized if eradicated? insights from Molecular genetic analyses


  • Associate Editor: Emily Latch.


We performed genetic analyses of Microtus longicaudus populations within the Crook Point Unit of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. A M. longicaudus population at Saddle Rock (located approx. 65 m off-shore from the Crook Point mainland) is suspected to be partially responsible for declines of a Leach's storm-petrel colony at this important nesting site. Using Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism markers and mitochondrial DNA, we illustrate that Saddle Rock and Crook Point function as separate island and mainland populations despite their close proximity. In addition to genetic structure, we also observed reduced genetic diversity at Saddle Rock, suggesting that little individual movement occurs between populations. If local resource managers decide to perform an eradication at Saddle Rock, we conclude that immediate recolonization of the island by M. longicaudus would be unlikely. Because M. longicaudus is native to Oregon, we also consider the degree with which the differentiation of Saddle Rock signifies the presence of a unique entity that warrants conservation rather than eradication. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.