This book aims at defining and reassessing the role of population genetics in conservation biology and seeks to identify the progress made in the field during the last decade. It deals with conservation genetics from several currently researched points of view, namely, ecological and demographic measures of rarity or population persistence, loss of genetic variation, inbreeding, reduced migration rates and increased selective pressures under stress and the role of social behaviour and metapopulation structure. The use of molecular variation as the basis of naming or selecting target taxa and some strategic decisions about genetic variance maximization in the conserved population or community units are analysed. Several case studies and scenarios illustrate the application of genetic information in conservation practices.
I: Genetics and conservation biology.- Introductory remarks: Genetics and conservation biology.- Global issues of genetic diversity.- II: Genetic variation and fitness.- Introductory remarks.- Genetic variation and fitness: Conservation lessons from pines.- Genetic diversity and fitness in small populations.- Mutation load depending on variance in reproductive success and mating system.- Extinction risk by mutational meltdown: Synergistic effects between population regulation and genetic drift.- III: Inbreeding, population and social structure.- Introductory remarks.- Inbreeding: One word, several meanings, much confusion.- The genetic structure of metapopulations and conservation biology.- Effects of inbreeding in small plant populations: Expectations and implications for conservation.- The interaction of inbreeding depression and environmental stochasticity in the risk of extinction of small populations.- Genetic structure of a population with social structure and migration.- Guidelines in conservation genetics and the use of the population cage experiments with butterflies to investigate the effects of genetic drift and inbreeding.- IV: Molecular approaches to conservation.- Introductory remarks.- Rare alleles, MHC and captive breeding.- Andean tapaculos of the genus Scytalopus (Aves, Rhinocryptidae): A study of speciation using DNA sequence data.- Genetic distances and the setting of conservation priorities.- Multi-species risk analysis, species evaluation and biodiversity conservation.- V: Case studies.- Introductory remarks.- On genetic erosion and population extinction in plants: A case study in Scabiosa columbaria and Salvia pratensis.- Effects of releasing hatchery-reared brown trout to wild trout populations.- Genetics and demography of rare plants and patchily distributed colonizing species.- Response to environmental change: Genetic variation and fitness in Drosophila buzzatii following temperature stress.- Alternative life histories and genetic conservation.- The principles of population monitoring for conservation genetics.- VI: Genetic resource conservation.- Introductory remarks.- Optimal sampling strategies for core collections of plant genetic resources.- Conservation genetics and the role of botanical gardens.- Animal breeding and conservation genetics.- Scenarios.- Introductory remarks.- A: The genetic monitoring of primate populations for their conservation.- B: Heavy metal tolerance, plant evolution and restoration ecology.- C: Genetic conservation and plant agriculture.- D: Fragmented plant populations and their lost interactions.- E: Host-pathogen coevolution under in situ conservation.- Concluding remarks.