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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PloS one, 2014, Vol.9(12), pp.e115203
    Description: Allelic richness (number of alleles) is a measure of genetic diversity indicative of a population's long-term potential for adaptability and persistence. It is used less commonly than heterozygosity as a genetic diversity measure, partially because it is more mathematically difficult to take into account the stochastic process of genetic drift for allelic richness. This paper presents a stochastic model for the allelic richness of a newly founded population experiencing genetic drift and gene flow. The model follows the dynamics of alleles lost during the founder event and simulates the effect of gene flow on maintenance and recovery of allelic richness. The probability of an allele's presence in the population was identified as the relevant statistical property for a meaningful interpretation of allelic richness. A method is discussed that combines the probability of allele presence with a population's allele frequency spectrum to provide predictions for allele recovery. The model's analysis provides insights into the dynamics of allelic richness following a founder event, taking into account gene flow and the allele frequency spectrum. Furthermore, the model indicates that the "One Migrant per Generation" rule, a commonly used conservation guideline related to heterozygosity, may be inadequate for addressing preservation of diversity at the allelic level. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between heterozygosity and allelic richness as measures of genetic diversity, since focusing merely on the preservation of heterozygosity might not be enough to adequately preserve allelic richness, which is crucial for species persistence and evolution.
    Keywords: Founder Effect ; Gene Flow ; Genetic Drift ; Models, Genetic
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    In: PLoS ONE, 2015, Vol.10(12)
    Description: The way in which animals move and use the landscape is influenced by the spatial distribution of resources, and is of importance when considering species conservation. We aimed at exploring how landscape-related factors affect a large herbivore’s space-use patterns by using a combined approach, integrating movement (displacement and recursions) and habitat selection analyses. We studied the endangered Asiatic wild ass ( Equus hemionus ) in the Negev Desert, Israel, using GPS monitoring and direct observation. We found that the main landscape-related factors affecting the species’ space-use patterns, on a daily and seasonal basis, were vegetation cover, water sources and topography. Two main habitat types were selected: high-elevation sites during the day (specific microclimate: windy on warm summer days) and streambed surroundings during the night (coupled with high vegetation when the animals were active in summer). Distribution of recursion times (duration between visits) revealed a 24-hour periodicity, a pattern that could be widespread among large herbivores. Characterizing frequently revisited sites suggested that recursion movements were mainly driven by a few landscape features (water sources, vegetation patches, high-elevation points), but also by social factors, such as territoriality, which should be further explored. This study provided complementary insights into the space-use patterns of E . hemionus . Understanding of the species’ space-use patterns, at both large and fine spatial scale, is required for developing appropriate conservation protocols. Our approach could be further applied for studying the space-use patterns of other species in heterogeneous landscapes.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: PloS one, 2018, Vol.13(4), pp.e0194901
    Description: Genetic diversity and structure of populations at the edge of the species' spatial distribution are important for potential adaptation to environmental changes and consequently, for the long-term survival of the species. Here, we combined classical population genetic methods with newly developed network analyses to gain complementary insights into the genetic structure and diversity of Acacia tortilis, a keystone desert tree, at the northern edge of its global distribution, where the population is under threat from climatic, ecological, and anthropogenic changes. We sampled A. tortilis from 14 sites along the Dead Sea region and the Arava Valley in Israel and in Jordan. In addition, we obtained samples from Egypt and Sudan, the hypothesized origin of the species. Samples from all sites were genotyped using six polymorphic microsatellite loci.Our results indicate a significant genetic structure in A. tortilis along the Arava Valley. This was detected at different hierarchical levels-from the basic unit of the subpopulation, corresponding to groups of trees within ephemeral rivers (wadis), to groups of subpopulations (communities) that are genetically more connected relative to others. The latter structure mostly corresponds to the partition of the major drainage basins in the area. Network analyses, combined with classical methods, allowed for the identification of key A. tortilis subpopulations in this region, characterized by their relatively high level of genetic diversity and centrality in maintaining gene flow in the population. Characterizing such key subpopulations may enable conservation managers to focus their efforts on certain subpopulations that might be particularly important for the population's long-term persistence, thus contributing to species conservation within its peripheral range.
    Keywords: Genetics, Population ; Genotype ; Microsatellite Repeats ; Acacia -- Genetics
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, Dec 19, 2014, Vol.9(12)
    Description: Allelic richness (number of alleles) is a measure of genetic diversity indicative of a population's long-term potential for adaptability and persistence. It is used less commonly than heterozygosity as a genetic diversity measure, partially because it is more mathematically difficult to take into account the stochastic process of genetic drift for allelic richness. This paper presents a stochastic model for the allelic richness of a newly founded population experiencing genetic drift and gene flow. The model follows the dynamics of alleles lost during the founder event and simulates the effect of gene flow on maintenance and recovery of allelic richness. The probability of an allele's presence in the population was identified as the relevant statistical property for a meaningful interpretation of allelic richness. A method is discussed that combines the probability of allele presence with a population's allele frequency spectrum to provide predictions for allele recovery. The model's analysis provides insights into the dynamics of allelic richness following a founder event, taking into account gene flow and the allele frequency spectrum. Furthermore, the model indicates that the "One Migrant per Generation" rule, a commonly used conservation guideline related to heterozygosity, may be inadequate for addressing preservation of diversity at the allelic level. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between heterozygosity and allelic richness as measures of genetic diversity, since focusing merely on the preservation of heterozygosity might not be enough to adequately preserve allelic richness, which is crucial for species persistence and evolution.
    Keywords: Population Genetics – Analysis ; Genes – Analysis
    ISSN: 1932-6203
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 5
    In: Ecology, September 2009, Vol.90(9), pp.2467-2479
    Description: Recent developments of automated methods for monitoring animal movement, e.g., global positioning systems (GPS) technology, yield high‐resolution spatiotemporal data. To gain insights into the processes creating movement patterns, we present two new techniques for extracting information from these data on repeated visits to a particular site or patch (“recursions”). Identification of such patches and quantification of recursion pathways, when combined with patch‐related ecological data, should contribute to our understanding of the habitat requirements of large herbivores, of factors governing their space‐use patterns, and their interactions with the ecosystem. We begin by presenting output from a simple spatial model that simulates movements of large‐herbivore groups based on minimal parameters: resource availability and rates of resource recovery after a local depletion. We then present the details of our new techniques of analyses (recursion analysis and circle analysis) and apply them to data generated by our model, as well as two sets of empirical data on movements of African buffalo (): the first collected in Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and the second in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Our recursion analyses of model outputs provide us with a basis for inferring aspects of the processes governing the production of buffalo recursion patterns, particularly the potential influence of resource recovery rate. Although the focus of our simulations was a comparison of movement patterns produced by different resource recovery rates, we conclude our paper with a comprehensive discussion of how recursion analyses can be used when appropriate ecological data are available to elucidate various factors influencing movement. Inter alia, these include the various limiting and preferred resources, parasites, and topographical and landscape factors.
    Keywords: African Buffalo ; Circular Path ; Fourier Transform ; Gps ; Herbivore Foraging ; Kruger National Park ; South Africa ; Looping ; Net Displacement ; Periodogram ; Resource Recovery ; Syncerus Caffer
    ISSN: 0012-9658
    E-ISSN: 1939-9170
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  • 6
    Language: Spanish
    In: Conservation Biology, February 2012, Vol.26(1), pp.107-115
    Description: (Dama mesopotamica)
    Keywords: Long‐Term Managment Programs ; Persian Fallow Deer ; Spatial Ecology ; Spatially Explicit Models ; Ecología Espacial ; Gamo Persa ; Modelos Espacialmente Explícitos ; Programas De Manejo A Largo Plazo
    ISSN: 0888-8892
    E-ISSN: 1523-1739
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  • 7
    In: Ecology, May 2006, Vol.87(5), pp.1215-1224
    Description: The introduction of chronic, infectious diseases by colonizing populations (invasive or reintroduced) is a serious hazard in conservation biology, threatening the original host and other spillover species. Most research on spatial invasion of diseases has pertained to established host populations, either at steady state or fluctuating through time. Within a colonizing population, however, the spread of disease may be influenced by the expansion process of the population itself. Here we explore the simultaneous expansion of a colonizing population and a chronic, nonlethal disease introduced with it, describing basic patterns in homogeneous and structured landscapes and discussing implications for disease management. We describe expected outcomes of such introductions for three qualitatively distinct cases, depending on the relative velocities at which the population and epidemic expand. (1) If transmissibility is low the disease cannot be sustained, although it may first expand its range somewhat around the point of introduction. (2) If transmissibility is moderate but the wave‐front velocity for the population, , is higher than that for the disease, , the disease wave front lags behind that of the population. (3) A highly transmissible disease, with , will invade sufficiently rapidly to track the spread of the host. To test these elementary theoretical predictions, we simulated disease outbreaks in a spatially structured host population occupying a real landscape. We used a spatially explicit, individual‐based model of Persian fallow deer () reintroduced in northern Israel, considering a hypothetical introduction of bovine tuberculosis. Basic patterns of disease expansion in this realistic setting were similar to our conceptual predictions for homogeneous landscapes. Landscape heterogeneity, however, induced the establishment of population activity centers and disease foci within them, leading to jagged wave fronts and causing local variation in the relative velocities at which the population and epidemic expanded. Based on predictions from simple theory and simulations of managed outbreaks, we suggest that the relative velocities at which the population and epidemic expand have important implications for the impact of different management strategies. Recognizing which of our three general cases best describes a particular outbreak will aid in planning an efficient strategy to contain the disease.
    Keywords: Bovine Tuberculosis ; Chronic Disease ; Colonizing Populations ; Dama Mesopotamica ; Infectious Disease ; Invasive Species ; Israel ; Managed Disease Outbreak ; Reintroduction ; Persian Fallow Deer ; Population Expansion ; Spatially Explicit Model
    ISSN: 0012-9658
    E-ISSN: 1939-9170
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Genetics, 2016, Vol.202(4), pp.1299-1312
    Description: Clustering individuals to subpopulations based on genetic data has become commonplace in many genetic studies. Inference about population structure is most often done by applying model-based approaches, aided by visualization using distance-based approaches such as multidimensional scaling. While existing distance-based approaches suffer from a lack of statistical rigor, model-based approaches entail assumptions of prior conditions such as that the subpopulations are at Hardy-Weinberg equilibria. Here we present a distance-based approach for inference about population structure using genetic data by defining population structure using network theory terminology and methods. A network is constructed from a pairwise genetic-similarity matrix of all sampled individuals. The community partition, a partition of a network to dense subgraphs, is equated with population structure, a partition of the population to genetically related groups. Community-detection algorithms are used to partition the network into communities, interpreted as a partition of the population to subpopulations. The statistical significance of the structure can be estimated by using permutation tests to evaluate the significance of the partitionEs modularity, a network theory measure indicating the quality of community partitions. To further characterize population structure, a new measure of the strength of association (SA) for an individual to its assigned community is presented. The strength of association distribution (SAD) of the communities is analyzed to provide additional population structure characteristics, such as the relative amount of gene flow experienced by the different subpopulations and identification of hybrid individuals. Human genetic data and simulations are used to demonstrate the applicability of the analyses. The approach presented here provides a novel, computationally efficient model-free method for inference about population structure that does not entail assumption of prior conditions.
    Keywords: Population Genetics – Analysis ; Modularity (Psychology) – Analysis
    ISSN: 0016-6731
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Biodiversity and Conservation, 2017, Vol.26(2), pp.421-437
    Description: Species distribution models (SDMs) are often limited by the use of coarse-resolution environmental variables and by the number of observations required for their calibration. This is particularly true in the case of elusive animals. Here, we developed a SDM by combining three elements: a database of explanatory variables, mapped at a fine resolution; a systematic sampling scheme; and an intensive survey of indirect observations. Using MaxEnt, we developed the SDM for the population of the Asiatic wild ass ( Equus hemionus ), a rare and elusive species, at three spatial scales: 10, 100, and 1000 m per pixel. We used indirect observations of feces mounds. We constructed 14 layers of explanatory variables, in five categories: water, topography, biotic conditions, climatic variables and anthropogenic variables. Woody vegetation cover and slopes were found to have the strongest effect on the distribution of wild ass and were included as the main predictors in the SDM. Model validation revealed that an intensive survey of feces mounds and high-resolution predictor layers resulted in a highly accurate and informative SDM. Fine-grain (10 and 100 m) SDMs can be utilized to: (1) characterize the variables influencing species distribution at high resolution and local scale, including anthropogenic effects and geomorphologic features; (2) detect potential population activity centers; (3) locate potential corridors of movement and possible isolated habitat patches. Such information may be useful for the conservation efforts of the Asiatic wild ass. This approach could be applied to other elusive species, particularly large mammals.
    Keywords: Equus hemionus ; Wild Ass ; Habitat preferences ; Feces ; MAXENT ; Species distribution model
    ISSN: 0960-3115
    E-ISSN: 1572-9710
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  • 10
    In: Molecular Ecology, April 2015, Vol.24(7), pp.1433-1446
    Description: Small populations are prone to loss of genetic variation and hence to a reduction in their evolutionary potential. Therefore, studying the mating system of small populations and its potential effects on genetic drift and genetic diversity is of high importance for their viability assessments. The traditional method for studying genetic mating systems is paternity analysis. Yet, as small populations are often rare and elusive, the genetic data required for paternity analysis are frequently unavailable. The endangered Asiatic wild ass (), like all equids, displays a behaviourally polygynous mating system; however, the level of polygyny has never been measured genetically in wild equids. Combining noninvasive genetic data with stochastic modelling of shifts in allele frequencies, we developed an alternative approach to paternity analysis for studying the genetic mating system of the re‐introduced Asiatic wild ass in the Negev Desert, Israel. We compared the shifts in allele frequencies (as a measure of genetic drift) that have occurred in the wild ass population since re‐introduction onset to simulated scenarios under different proportions of mating males. We revealed a strongly polygynous mating system in which less than 25% of all males participate in the mating process each generation. This strongly polygynous mating system and its potential effect on the re‐introduced population's genetic diversity could have significant consequences for the long‐term persistence of the population in the Negev. The stochastic modelling approach and the use of allele‐frequency shifts can be further applied to systems that are affected by genetic drift and for which genetic data are limited.
    Keywords: Allele‐Frequency Shifts ; Conservation Genetics ; Elusive Species ; Equus Hemionus ; Genetic Drift ; Paternity Analysis
    ISSN: 0962-1083
    E-ISSN: 1365-294X
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