University of Oulu

Lansink, G. M. J., Kleven, O., Ekblom, R., Spong, G., Kopatz, A., Mattisson, J., Persson, J., Kojola, I., Holmala, K., Ollila, T., Ellegren, H., Kindberg, J., Flagstad, Ø., Aspi, J., & Kvist, L. (2022). Potential for increased connectivity between differentiated wolverine populations. Biological Conservation, 272, 109601.

Potential for increased connectivity between differentiated wolverine populations

Saved in:
Author: Lansink, Gerhardus1; Kleven, O.2; Ekblom, R.3,4;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, P.O. Box 5685, Torgarden, NO-7485, Trondheim, Norway
3Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, SE-10648 Stockholm, Sweden
4Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Nordbyvägen 18D, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden
5Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
6Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-730 91 Riddarhyttan, Sweden
7Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Eteläranta 55, FI-96300, Rovaniemi, Finland
8Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Viikinkaari 9, FI-00790, Helsinki, Finland
9Metsähallitus, Parks and Wildlife Finland, Ounasjoentie 6, FI-96101, Rovaniemi, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-14


Information on genetic population structure provides important knowledge for species conservation. Yet, few studies combine extensive genetic data to evaluate the structure and population dynamics of transboundary populations. Here we used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes to analyze the genetic population structure of wolverines (Gulo gulo) across Fennoscandia using a long-term monitoring dataset of 1708 individuals. Clear population subdivision was detected between the Scandinavian and the eastern Finnish population with a steep cline in the contact zone. While the Scandinavian population showed isolation by distance, large swaths of this population were characterized by high connectivity. Areas with high resistance to gene flow are likely explained by a combination of factors, such as historical isolation and founder effects. From a conservation perspective, promoting gene flow from the population in eastern Finland to the northwest of Scandinavia could augment the less variable Scandinavian population, and increase the demographic resilience of all subpopulations. Overall, the large areas of low resistance to gene flow suggest that transboundary cooperation with aligned actions of harvest and conflict mitigation could improve genetic connectivity across Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

see all

Series: Biological conservation
ISSN: 0006-3207
ISSN-E: 1873-2917
ISSN-L: 0006-3207
Volume: 272
Article number: 109601
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109601
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: We would like to thank the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (NV-04940-18, 325-18-003, 324-19-002), the Norwegian Environment Agency (17070002), the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (41001-00001404), the Finnish Cultural Foundation (00211202, 00200132, 00190614) and the University of Oulu Scholarship Foundation (20210098) for funding this study.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license.