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Wildlife friendly agriculture: which factors do really matter? A genetic study on the field vole (Microtus agrestis)

Marchi, Chiara ; Andersen, Liselotte Wesley; Damgaard, Christian F.; Olsen, Kent; Jensen Secher, Thomas and Loeschcke, Volker (2010) Wildlife friendly agriculture: which factors do really matter? A genetic study on the field vole (Microtus agrestis). Heredity, , . [Submitted]

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Summary

The impact of landscape structure and land management on the dispersal of populations of wild species inhabiting the agricultural landscape was investigated by determining the genetic diversity and gene flow of field vole (Microtus agrestis) in three different areas. The main hypotheses were: I) organic farms act as genetic sources and diversity reservoirs for species living in agricultural areas and II) gene flow and genetic structure in the agricultural landscape are influenced by the degree of landscape complexity and connectivity. A total of 443 individuals were sampled within two consecutive years from two agricultural areas and one relatively undisturbed grassland area. Fifteen polymorphic microsatellite loci and the central part of the cytochrome-b were analysed for all the samples. The results indicate that management (i.e. organic or conventional management) has an important effect in shaping the genetic structure across the landscape, but that landscape structure is the main factor shaping gene flow and genetic diversity. More importantly, the presence of organically managed areas does not act as a genetic reservoir for conventional areas and the most important predictor of effective population size is the amount of un-managed available habitat. Together with the findings that the relatively undisturbed natural area showed a completely different genetic structure and diversity levels as compared to the two agricultural areas, these results suggest that political decisions for supporting “wildlife friendly” land management should take into account both management and landscape structure factors.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > REFUGIA - The role of Organic Farms as refugia for biodiversity
Deposited By: , dR lwa
ID Code:19059
Deposited On:30 Jun 2011 11:25
Last Modified:06 Aug 2012 08:42
Document Language:English
Status:Submitted
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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