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Realistic levels of inbreeding depression strongly affect extinction risk in wild populations


O'Grady, JJ and Brook, BW and Reed, DH and Ballou, JD and Tonkyn, DW and Frankham, R, Realistic levels of inbreeding depression strongly affect extinction risk in wild populations, Biological Conservation, 133, (1) pp. 42-51. ISSN 0006-3207 (2006) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2006 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2006.05.016


The role of inbreeding depression in the extinction of wild populations is controversial, largely because there are no quantitative estimates of its impact using realistic levels of inbreeding depression. To address this deficiency, this study (1) provides a comprehensive estimate of the impact of inbreeding depression on wild, mammalian and avian species via a meta-analysis, and (2) determines the impact of this level of inbreeding depression on extinction risk over a broad taxonomic range via stochastic computer projections with and without inbreeding depression for populations with carrying capacities of 100, 500 and 2000 individuals. An average overall effect of 12 diploid lethal equivalents was found across the life-history of the species in the meta-analysis. In the stochastic computer projections, 12 diploid lethal equivalents of inbreeding depression (with purging) decreased median times to extinction by an average of 37%. These decreases were significant and of very similar magnitude, regardless of the carrying capacity modelled. Disregarding the influence of inbreeding depression on extinction risk will lead to serious overestimates of the survival prospects of threatened mammalian and avian taxa. Further, inappropriate recovery plans may be instituted if the causes of extinction risk and their relative contributions are not recognized.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:lethal equivalents, genetic stochaticity, population viability analysis, mammals, birds
Research Division:Mathematical Sciences
Research Group:Statistics
Research Field:Stochastic analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:116340
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:354
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2017-05-05
Last Modified:2017-09-15

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