Current genetic admixture between relictual populations might enhance the recovery of an elusive carnivore

Pigneur Lise-Marie, Caublot Gaëlle, Fournier-Chambrillon Christine, Fournier Pascal, Giralda-Carrera Gloria, Grémillet Xavier, Le Roux Bruno, Marc Daniel, Simonnet Franck, Smitz Nathalie, Sourp Eric, Steinmetz Julien, Urra-Maya Fermin, Michaux Johan. 2019. Current genetic admixture between relictual populations might enhance the recovery of an elusive carnivore. Conservation Genetics, 20 (5) : pp. 1133-1148.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q2, Sujet : BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION / Quartile : Q3, Sujet : GENETICS & HEREDITY

Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Psychologie-éthologie-ergonomie

Abstract : The present study investigated the natural recovery of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in France. The otter was widely distributed in France at the dawn of the 20th century, but then its range considerably shrank and became highly fragmented until the early 1970s, just before it was legally protected. However, for more than 25 years, the otter has been reconquering several parts of its original range and is now considered to be in expansion in France. We investigated the genetic differentiation and diversity of several populations from western and central France and northern Spain to gain insight into the recolonisation dynamics of this elusive species. The present study, based on the use of 14 microsatellite markers, revealed that otter populations seem to be split into five distinct groups. The distribution of samples in those five clusters was closely correlated with suspected refugia where the otter probably survived during the 20th century. Admixture was observed between genetic lineages, possibly enhancing their genetic diversity and thus increasing the recolonisation dynamics of these populations. This phenomenon resembles the genetic pattern noted in many invasive exotic species derived from multiple sources and introduction events. Finally, a demographic approach revealed the probable link between historical human pressure and otter population fragmentation patterns.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Loutre, Dynamique des populations, Variation génétique, Facteur anthropogène, Écologie animale

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : France, Espagne, Limousin, Languedoc-Roussillon, Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées, Bretagne

Mots-clés complémentaires : Lutra lutra

Mots-clés libres : Eurasian otter, France, Genetic diversity, Lutra lutra, Population genetic structure, Recolonisation

Classification Agris : L20 - Animal ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 2 (2019-) - Transitions agroécologiques

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Pigneur Lise-Marie, Université de Liège (BEL) - auteur correspondant
  • Caublot Gaëlle, Groupe Mammalogique et Herpétologique du Limousin (FRA)
  • Fournier-Chambrillon Christine, GREGE (FRA)
  • Fournier Pascal, GREGE (FRA)
  • Giralda-Carrera Gloria, Servicio de Conservación de la Biodiversidad (ESP)
  • Grémillet Xavier, Groupe Mammalogique Breton (FRA)
  • Le Roux Bruno, Fédération Aude Claire (FRA)
  • Marc Daniel, Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels de Midi-Pyrénées (FRA)
  • Simonnet Franck, Groupe Mammalogique Breton (FRA)
  • Smitz Nathalie, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Sourp Eric, Parc national des Pyrénées (FRA)
  • Steinmetz Julien, ONCFS (FRA)
  • Urra-Maya Fermin, BiodiversidadGestión Ambiental de Navarra (ESP)
  • Michaux Johan, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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