Get access

No evidence of past bottlenecks in two Danish mustelids: results of craniometric and genetic studies in time and space

Authors

  • CINO PERTOLDI,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, Building 540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
    2. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Biodiversity, National Environmental Research Institute, Kalø, Grenåvej 14, DK-8410 Rønde, Denmark
    3. Department of Applied Biology, Estacion Biologica Doñana, CSIC, Pabellon del Perú, Avda. Maria Luisa, s/n 41013 Seville, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ANNE-METTE NORUP,

    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, Building 540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
    Search for more papers by this author
  • AKSEL BO MADSEN,

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Biodiversity, National Environmental Research Institute, Kalø, Grenåvej 14, DK-8410 Rønde, Denmark
    Search for more papers by this author
  • HANS JØRGEN BAAGOE,

    1. Mammal Section, Zoological Museum, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ETTORE RANDI,

    1. Instituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica, Via Cá Fornacetta 9, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • VOLKER LOESCHCKE

    1. Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, Building 540, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
    Search for more papers by this author

E-mail: biocp@nf.au.dk

Abstract

A craniometric and molecular genetic investigation was conducted in Danish stoat (Mustela erminea) and weasel (Mustela nivalis) populations. Specimens used were collected over a wide time span (stoat: 1864–2002; weasel: 1863–1990) and from several geographical regions (Jutland peninsula and the two islands of Funen and Zealand). The study was made with a temporal and a spatial perspective, allowing the estimation of differences in genetic diversity and craniometrical trait means between geographical regions and through time with the use of ancient DNA techniques. Univariate statistics of 11 trait lengths did not reveal geographical differentiation in size and shape among the different regions for the stoat, but a geographical differentiation in shape was found for the weasel. There was evidence for reductions in skull size with the year of collection in male stoats, but not in females, which suggests that some selective pressures or environmental factors have affected male stoats to a greater extent than female stoats and the weasel. Relatively high values of heterozygosity were found in both the stoat and weasel, using microsatellite markers. The level of genetic variability of the stoat collected recently was compared with the level of genetic variability in the historical samples, demonstrating that the stoat has not suffered severe loss of genetic variability through the investigated period. A comparison of recent and historical genetic variability of the weasel was not possible because the ancient DNA extracted from the weasels was too degraded. Pairwise FST values and assignment tests showed small but significant genetic differentiation between the different geographical regions for both the stoat and weasel. No genetic differentiation between the recent and historical samples of the stoat was found. © 2006 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2006, 88, 541–553.

Ancillary