Genetic analysis of hog deer (Axis porcinus) in Victoria, Australia, and its applications to invasive species and game management

Erin Hill, Nicholas Murphy, Simon Toop, Adrian Linacre, Jan M. Strugnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hog deer were introduced to Australia in the 1860s, where they have spread across the Gippsland region of Victoria. Due to its status as an introduced species and an important game animal within Victoria, management of the species is complex. Given this complexity, genetic studies can provide important information regarding population structure and diversity which can assist in controlling problematic populations of hog deer, while also ensuring viable game stock in sites managed as game reserves. The aim of this study was to investigate the population genetic structure and diversity of the Victorian hog deer 150 years after introduction using short tandem repeats (STRs). Hog deer samples were collected across 15 sites of differing management regimes in the Gippsland region of Victoria and genotyped for 13 polymorphic STR loci. Up to four distinct genetic clusters were identified across the sites sampled, suggesting that despite low observed genetic diversity, population structure is present across their range. It was also possible to detect evidence of recent translocations among populations. This study suggests that the presence of distinct genetic clusters may enable management of separate genetic units, considering invasive species and game management objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
Volume68
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Axis porcinus
  • Game management
  • Genetic structure
  • Introduced species
  • Translocations

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