Publications

NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.

2021

Abstract

Gjennom det nasjonale overvåkingsprogrammet for rovvilt i Norge ble det i 2020 samlet inn prøver til DNA-analyse med antatt opphav fra brunbjørn (Ursus arctos) for tolvte år på rad. Av 1361 innsamlede prøver i 2020, ble 1351 inkludert i den genetiske analysen (850 ekskrementprøver, 489 hårprøver, 10 vevsprøver og 2 urinprøver) og 67 % var positive for brunbjørn. Totalt gav 708 prøver (52 %) en godkjent DNA-profil, og det ble fra disse prøvene påvist 150 ulike brunbjørner; 65 hunnbjørner og 85 hannbjørner. Dette var en økning på 1,4 % (2 individer) sammenlignet med 2019. Dette er det høyeste antallet brunbjørn registrert siden 2011. Forekomsten av brunbjørn var, som i foregående år, hovedsakelig konsentrert i fylkene Troms og Finnmark (66), Innlandet (52) og Trøndelag (29). Av det totale antallet brunbjørner påvist i 2020 var 70 % (105 individer) tidligere påvist i Norge, noe som utgjør en økning i gjenfunn med 4 prosentpoeng i forhold til i fjor. Om man inkluderer gjenfunn fra Sverige, Finland og Russland utgjør det totale antallet gjenfunn 112 individer (75 %). Basert på prøver fra påviste hunnbjørner ble det estimert 8,5 ynglinger i Norge i 2020. Dette er det høyeste estimatet på antall ynglinger siden overvå-kingen startet i 2009. De estimerte ynglingene i 2020 fordeler seg med 3,1 i rovviltregion 5 (Inn-landet), 2,9 i region 6 (Trøndelag) og 2,5 i region 8 (Troms og Finnmark).

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Abstract

Conservation and management of large carnivores requires knowledge of female and male dispersal. Such information is crucial to evaluate the population’s status and thus management actions. This knowledge is challenging to obtain, often incomplete and contradictory at times. The size of the target population and the methods applied can bias the results. Also, population history and biological or environmental influences can affect dispersal on different scales within a study area. We have genotyped Eurasian lynx (180 males and 102 females, collected 2003–2017) continuously distributed in southern Finland (~23,000 km2) using 21 short tandem repeats (STR) loci and compared statistical genetic tests to infer local and sex-specific dispersal patterns within and across genetic clusters as well as geographic regions. We tested for sex-specific substructure with individual-based Bayesian assignment tests and spatial autocorrelation analyses. Differences between the sexes in genetic differentiation, relatedness, inbreeding, and diversity were analysed using population- based AMOVA, F-statistics, and assignment indices. Our results showed two different genetic clusters that were spatially structured for females but admixed for males. Similarly, spatial autocorrelation and relatedness was significantly higher in females than males. However, we found weaker sex-specific patterns for the Eurasian lynx when the data were separated in three geographical regions than when divided in the two genetic clusters. Overall, our results suggest male-biased dispersal and female philopatry for the Eurasian lynx in Southern Finland. The female genetic structuring increased from west to east within our study area. In addition, detection of male-biased dispersal was dependent on analytical methods utilized, on whether subtle underlying genetic structuring was considered or not, and the choice of population delineation. Conclusively, we suggest using multiple genetic approaches to study sex-biased dispersal in a continuously distributed species in which population delineation is difficult.

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Abstract

To investigate the possible family influence on sea lice grazing of lumpfish on Atlantic salmon, ten families of lumpfish (N = 480) with a mean (± SD) weight of 54.8 ± 9.2 g were distributed among ten sea cages (5 × 5 × 5 m) each stocked with 400 Atlantic salmon with a mean (± SD) weight of 621.4 ± 9.2 g. All the ten cages were stocked with 48 lumpfish (12% stocking density). The stocking of cages was such that each cage consisted of two random families where full- and paternal half-sib families were randomly allocated to the different cages. There were clear differences in sea lice grazing efficacy, growth and cataract prevalence between the ten families assessed in this study. Lumpfish from families 2, 6 and 10 had the lowest mean weights but showed comparable growth rates compared to the other families throughout the study and this may be as a direct result of genetic influence. In addition, fish from these families had a significantly higher incidence of lice grazing of both L. salmonis and C. elongatus compared to the other families. Using mixed linear model to analyse the data revealed significant family and paternal effect on sea lice grazing. There was a trend for a reduction in sea lice grazing with increased size within each family. The results indicated that it was the smallest size classes of lumpfish (40–140 g) which exhibited higher sea lice grazing potential compared to the larger size classes within families. There were no clear differences in the lice grazing potential between male and female lumpfish within and between families. Overall, present findings showed that sea lice grazing of both L. salmonis and C. elongatus can be enhanced using targeted family production and if this behaviour has a genetic basis it may further enhanced through selection and targeted breeding programs.

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Abstract

Knowledge about the connectivity among natural populations is essential to identify management units for effective conservation actions. Conservation-minded management has led to the recovery of large carnivore populations in northern Europe, possibly restoring connectivity between the two separated, but expanding brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations on the Scandinavian peninsula to the west and Karelia, a part of the large Eurasian population, to the east. The degree of connectivity between these populations has been poorly understood, therefore we investigated the extent of connectivity between the two populations using autosomal microsatellites and Y chromosome haplotypes in 924 male bears (the dispersing sex), sampled during a period of 12 years (2005–2017) across the transborder area where these two populations meet. Our results showed that the two populations are not genetically isolated as reported in earlier studies. We detected recent asymmetrical gene flow at a rate (individuals per generation) of 4.6–5.5 (1%) from Karelia into Scandinavia, whereas the rate was approximately 27.1–34.5 (8%) in the opposite direction. We estimated historical gene flow of effective number of migrants to be between 1.7 and 2.5 between the populations. Analyses of Y chromosome markers supported these results. Successful recovery and expansion of both populations led to the restoration of connectivity, however, it is asymmetric, possibly due to different recovery histories and population densities. By aligning monitoring between neighboring countries, we were able to better understand the biological processes across the relevant spatial scale. Brown bear Genetic structure Male gene flow Microsatellites Migration Recovery Ursus arctos Wildlife monitoring Y chromosome

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Abstract

Wildlife species living in proximity with humans often suffer from various anthropogenic factors. Here, we focus on the endangered Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis), which lives in close connection with humans in Lake Saimaa, Finland. This unique endemic population has remained landlocked since the last glacial period, and it currently consists of only ~400 individuals. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the Saimaa ringed seal, identify the main risk factors and discuss the efficacy of conservation actions put in place to ensure its long-term survival. The main threats for this rare subspecies are bycatch mortality, habitat destruction and increasingly mild winters. Climate change, together with small population size and an extremely impoverished gene pool, forms a new severe threat. The main conservation actions and priorities for the Saimaa ringed seal are implementation of fishing closures, land-use planning, protected areas, and reduction of pup mortality. Novel innovations, such as provisioning of artificial nest structures, may become increasingly important in the future. Although the Saimaa ringed seal still faces the risk of extinction, the current positive trend in the number of seals shows that endangered wildlife populations can recover even in regions with considerable human inhabitation, when legislative protection is combined with intensive research, engagement of local inhabitants, and innovative conservation actions. Such multifaceted conservation approaches are needed in a world with a growing human population and a rapidly changing climate.

2020

Abstract

The lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus is commercially exploited in numerous areas of its range in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is important in salmonid aquaculture as a biological agent for controlling sea lice. Despite the economic importance, few genetic resources for downstream applications, such as linkage mapping, parentage analysis, marker-assisted selection (MAS), quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, and assessing adaptive genetic diversity are currently available for the species. Here, we identify both genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites loci from C. lumpus to facilitate such applications. Across 2,346 genomic contigs, we detected a total of 3,067 microsatellite loci, of which 723 were the most suitable ones for primer design. From 116,555 transcriptomic unigenes, we identified a total of 231,556 microsatellite loci, which may indicate a high coverage of the available STRs. Out of these, primer pairs could only be designed for 6,203 loci. Dinucleotide repeats accounted for 89 percent and 52 percent of the genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites, respectively. The genetic composition of the dominant repeat motif types showed differences from other investigated fish species. In the genome-derived microsatellites AC/GT (67.8 percent), followed by AG/CT (15.1 percent) and AT/AT (5.6 percent) were the major motifs. Transcriptome-derived microsatellites showed also most dominantly the AC/GT repeat motif (33 percent), followed by A/T (26.6 percent) and AG/CT (11 percent). Functional annotation of microsatellite-containing transcriptomic sequences showed that the majority of the expressed sequence tags encode proteins involved in cellular and metabolic processes, binding activity and catalytic reactions. Importantly, STRs linked to genes involved in immune system process, growth, locomotion and reproduction were discovered in the present study. The extensive genomic marker information reported here will facilitate molecular ecology studies, conservation initiatives and will benefit many aspects of the breeding programmes of C. lumpus.

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Abstract

Wildlife managers conduct population inventories to monitor species, particularly those at-risk. Although costly and time consuming, grid-based DNA hair-snag sampling has been the standard protocol for grizzly bear inventories in North America, while opportunistic fecal DNA sampling is more commonly used in Europe. Our aim is to determine if low-cost, low-effort scat sampling along roads can replace the current standard. We compare two genetic non-invasive techniques using concurrent sampling within the same grid system and spatially explicit capture–recapture. We found that given our methodology and the present status of fecal genotyping for grizzly bears, scat sampling along roads cannot replace hair sampling to estimate population size in low-density areas. Hair sampling identified the majority of individual grizzly bears, with a higher success rate of individuals identified from grizzly bear samples (100%) compared to scat sampling (14%). Using scat DNA to supplement hair data did not change population estimates, but it did improve estimate precision. Scat samples had higher success identifying species (98%) compared with hair (80%). Scat sampling detected grizzly bears in grid cells where hair sampling showed non-detection, with almost twice the number of cells indicating grizzly bear presence. Based on our methods and projected expenses for future implementation, we estimated an approximate 30% cost reduction for sampling scat relative to hair. Our research explores the application of genetic non-invasive approaches to monitor bear populations. We recommend wildlife managers continue to use hair-snag sampling as the primary method for DNA inventories, while employing scat sampling as supplemental to increase estimate precision. Scat sampling may better indicate presence of bear species through greater numbers and spatial distribution of detections, if sampling is systematic across the entire area of interest. Our findings speak to the management of other species and regions, and contribute to ongoing advances of monitoring wildlife populations.

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Abstract

Siden 2005 har populasjonen av grenseoverskridene brunbjørn (Ursus arctos) i Trilateral Park Pasvik-Inari-Pechenga (Norge-Finland-Russland) blitt overvåket ved å bruke genetiske analyser av hår og ekskrement-prøver samlet inn opportunistisk i felt. En mer systematiske metode med hårfeller hvert fjerde år ble i 2007 startet opp for å samle inn bjørnehår til genetisk analyse. Metoden består i å sette ut 56 hårfeller med luktstoff i Norge, Finland og Russland i et 5 x 5 km2 rutenett (totalt ca. 1400 km2). Dette prosjektet ble gjentatt i 2011, 2015 og nå i sesongen 2019 med 58 ruter og ved bruk av samme metode som i 2007. I 2019 sesongen ble det samlet inn 182 prøver, der 66 av disse var fra Finland, 59 fra Norge og 57 fra Russland. For 144 (79,1 %) av de 182 hårprøvene var det positivt resultat i den bjørne-spesifikke analysen, og en komplett DNA profil kunne bestemmes for 136 av de positive prøvene. Det ble totalt påvist 47 forskjellige bjørner (25 hunner og 22 hanner). Av disse 47 individene var 24 påvist i tidligere år, mens 23 var til nå ukjente bjørner. Totalt ble det påvist 20 bjørner i Finland, 14 bjørner i Norge og 16 bjørner i Russland...

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Abstract

Harvest can disrupt wildlife populations by removing adults with naturally high survival. This can reshape sociospatial structure, genetic composition, fitness, and potentially affect evolution. Genetic tools can detect changes in local, fine-scale genetic structure (FGS) and assess the interplay between harvest-caused social and FGS in populations. We used data on 1614 brown bears, Ursus arctos, genotyped with 16 microsatellites, to investigate whether harvest intensity (mean low: 0.13 from 1990 to 2005, mean high: 0.28 from 2006 to 2011) caused changes in FGS among matrilines (8 matrilines; 109 females ≥4 years of age), sex-specific survival and putative dispersal distances, female spatial genetic autocorrelation, matriline persistence, and male mating patterns. Increased harvest decreased FGS of matrilines. Female dispersal distances decreased, and male reproductive success was redistributed more evenly. Adult males had lower survival during high harvest, suggesting that higher male turnover caused this redistribution and helped explain decreased structure among matrilines, despite shorter female dispersal distances. Adult female survival and survival probability of both mother and daughter were lower during high harvest, indicating that matriline persistence was also lower. Our findings indicate a crucial role of regulated harvest in shaping populations, decreasing differences among “groups,” even for solitary-living species, and potentially altering the evolutionary trajectory of wild populations. anthropogenic, dispersal, hunting, male mating, maternal, predator, survival