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Assessing Extinction Risk: Integrating Genetic Information

Jason Dunham, University of Nevada-Reno
Mary Peacock, University of Nevada-Reno
C. Richard Tracy, University of Nevada-Reno
Jennifer Nielsen, Stanford University
Gary Vinyard, University of Nevada-Reno


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Risks of population extinction have been estimated using a variety of methods incorporating information from different spatial and temporal scales. We briefly consider how several broad classes of extinction risk assessments, including population viability analysis, incidence functions, and ranking methods integrate information on different temporal and spatial scales. In many circumstances, data from surveys of neutral genetic variability within, and among, populations can provide information useful for assessing extinction risk. Patterns of genetic variability resulting from past and present ecological and demographic events, can indicate risks of extinction that are otherwise difficult to infer from ecological and demographic analyses alone. We provide examples of how patterns of neutral genetic variability, both within, and among populations, can be used to corroborate and complement extinction risk assessments.

Key words

extinction risk, genetic variation, incidence function analysis, population viability analysis, ranking methods, risk assessment, spatial scale, temporal scale.
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087