Overcoming the issue of small sample sizes in fragmentation genetics

Authors

  • MATTHEW J. STRUEBIG,

    1. Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NR, UK
    2. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
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  • STEVEN C. LE COMBER,

    1. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
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  • STEPHEN J. ROSSITER

    1. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
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  • REPLY

Matthew J. Struebig, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7882 7732; E-mails: m.j.struebig@kent.ac.uk; m.struebig@qmul.ac.uk

Abstract

Nazareno & Jump (2012) highlight potential issues with using small sample sizes in population genetic studies. By reanalysing allelic richness data from our recent publication on habitat fragmentation (Struebig et al. 2011), they assert that the observed relationship has been driven by three sites with the lowest number of individuals sampled. While sample size issues have been raised before in the genetic literature, Nazareno & Jump’s (2012) comment serves as a useful reminder to us all. Nevertheless, we disagree that our findings were significantly biased by sampling limitations. Here, we demonstrate by jackknifing that, contrary to the claims of Nazareno & Jump (2012), our correlations of allelic richness and fragment area are not driven solely by sites with low sample sizes. We maintain that small sample sizes can be accounted for in fragmentation studies and that sampling limitations should not detract from undertaking conservation genetic research.

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