Genetic Structure and Gene Flow in Eastern Grey Kangaroos in an Isolated Conservation Reserve

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Diversity, 13, (11), pp. 570-570
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Dispersal is a key process for population persistence, particularly in fragmented landscapes. Connectivity between habitat fragments can be easily estimated by quantifying gene flow among subpopulations. However, the focus in ecological research has been on endangered species, typically excluding species that are not of current conservation concern. Consequently, our current understanding of the behaviour and persistence of many species is incomplete. A case in point is the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus), an Australian herbivore that is subjected to considerable harvesting and population control efforts. In this study, we used non-invasive genetic sampling of eastern grey kangaroos within and outside of the Mourachan Conservation Property to assess functional connectivity. In total, we genotyped 232 samples collected from 17 locations at 20 microsatellite loci. The clustering algorithm indicated the presence of two clusters, with some overlap between the groups within and outside of the reserve. This genetic assessment should be repeated in 10–15 years to observe changes in population structure and gene flow over time, monitoring the potential impact of the planned exclusion fencing around the reserve.
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