Inbreeding and extinction: Island populations

Richard Frankham*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    489 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Island populations are more prone to extinction than mainland populations, with island endemic species having higher extinction rates than nonendemic species. Inbreeding depression is one possible explanation for this. Insular populations are expected to suffer increased inbreeding relative to mainland populations due to bottlenecks at foundation and to lower subsequent population sizes. Inbreeding coefficients for 182 nonendemic and 28 endemic island populations were estimated from allozyme and microsatellite heterozygosities in island and related mainland populations. Island populations were significantly inbred, with inbreeding coefficients significantly higher in endemic than nonendemic island populations. Many island populations showed levels of inbreeding associated with elevated extinction rates in domestic and laboratory species. Inbreeding depression cannot be excluded as a factor in the extinction proneness of island populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-675
    Number of pages11
    JournalConservation Biology
    Volume12
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

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