Phylogeography and population genetic structure of the European roe deer in Switzerland following recent recolonisation

Nina Vasiljevic, Nadja V Morf, Josef Senn, Sílvia Pérez-Espona, Federica Mattucci, Nadia Mucci, Gaia Moore-Jones, Simone Roberto Rolando Pisano, Adelgunde Kratzer, Rob Ogden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the early 1800s, the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) was probably extirpated from Switzerland, due to overhunting and deforestation. After a federal law was enacted in 1875 to protect lactating females and young, and limiting the hunting season, the roe deer successfully recovered and recolonised Switzerland. In this study, we use mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA markers to investigate the recolonisation and assess contemporary genetic structure in relation to broad topographic features, in order to understand underlying ecological processes, inform future roe deer management strategies and explore the opportunity for development of forensic traceability tools. The results concerning the recolonisation origin support natural, multidirectional immigration from neighbouring countries. We further demonstrate that there is evidence of weak genetic differentiation within Switzerland among topographic regions. Finally, we conclude that the genetic data support the recognition of a single roe deer management unit within Switzerland, within which there is a potential for broad scale geographic origin assignment using nuclear markers to support law enforcement.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8626
Number of pages14
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • microsatellites,
  • mtDNA
  • phylogeography
  • gene flow
  • population structure
  • conservation genetics
  • ungulate management


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