© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Reintroductions inherently involve a small number of founders leading reintroduced populations to be prone to genetic drift and, consequently, to inbreeding depression. Assessing the origins as the genetic diversity and structure of reintroduced populations compared to native populations are thus crucial to foresee their future. Here, we aim to clarify the origins of the Alpine marmots reintroduced in the Pyrenees and to evaluate the genetic consequences of this reintroduction after almost 30 years without monitoring. We search for the origins and compare the genetic structure and the genetic variability of three reintroduced Pyrenean and eight native Alpine populations using pairwise genetic distances, Bayesian clustering method and multivariate analyses. Our results reveal that the Alpine marmots reintroduced in the Pyrenees originated both from the Northern and the Southern Alps, and that, despite these multiple origins, none of the current Pyrenean marmots are admixed. The reintroduction led to a strong genetic differentiation and to a decrease in genetic diversity. This pattern likely results from the small number of founders and the low dispersal capacities of Alpine marmots and thus, highlight the necessity to consider both genetic characteristics and natural history when reintroducing a species.
- Alpine marmots
- Marmota marmota