Origin and status of the Great Lakes wolf

Authors

  • STEPHAN KOBLMÜLLER,

    1. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18d, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden,
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    • §

      Stephan Koblmüller and Maria Nord contributed equally to this work.

    • **

      Current address: Department of Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria

  • MARIA NORD,

    1. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18d, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden,
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    • §

      Stephan Koblmüller and Maria Nord contributed equally to this work.

  • ROBERT K. WAYNE,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA,
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  • JENNIFER A. LEONARD

    1. Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18d, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden,
    2. Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, National Zoological Park and National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013, USA,
    3. Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC, Avd. Americo Vespuccio s/n, 41092 Seville, Spain
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Jennifer Leonard, Fax: +46-18-471 6310; E-mail: jennifer.leonard@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

An extensive debate concerning the origin and taxonomic status of wolf-like canids in the North American Great Lakes region and the consequences for conservation politics regarding these enigmatic predators is ongoing. Using maternally, paternally and biparentally inherited molecular markers, we demonstrate that the Great Lakes wolves are a unique population or ecotype of gray wolves. Furthermore, we show that the Great Lakes wolves experienced high degrees of ancient and recent introgression of coyote and western gray wolf mtDNA and Y-chromosome haplotypes, and that the recent demographic bottleneck caused by persecution and habitat depletion in the early 1900s is not reflected in the genetic data.

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