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Data from: Genetic diversity and demographic history of introduced sika deer on the Delmarva Peninsula

Cite this dataset

Kalb, David M.; Delaney, Deborah A.; Deyoung, Randy W.; Bowman, Jacob L. (2020). Data from: Genetic diversity and demographic history of introduced sika deer on the Delmarva Peninsula [Dataset]. Dryad.


The introduction of non-native species can have long-term effects on native plant and animal communities. Introduced populations are occasionally not well understood and offer opportunities to evaluate changes in genetic structure through time and major population changes such as bottleneck and or founder events. Invasive species can often evolve rapidly in new and novel environments, which could be essential to their long-term success. Sika deer are native to East Asia, and their introduction and establishment to the Delmarva Peninsula, USA is poorly documented, but probably involved ≥1 founder and/or bottleneck events. We quantified neutral genetic diversity in the introduced population and compared genetic differentiation and diversity to the presumed source population from Yakushima Island, Japan, and a captive population of sika deer in Harrington, Delaware, USA. Based on data from 10 microsatellite DNA loci, we observed reduced genetic variation attributable to founder events, support for historic hybridization events, and evidence that the population did originate from Yakushima Island stocks. Estimates of population structure through Bayesian clustering and demographic history derived from Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC), were consistent with the hypothesized founder history of the introduced population in both timing and effective population size (approximately 5 effective breeding individuals, an estimated 36 generations ago). Our ABC results further supported a single introduction into the wild happening before sika deer spread throughout the Delmarva. We conclude that free-ranging sika deer on Delmarva are descended from ca. 5 individuals introduced about 100 years ago from captive stocks of deer maintained in the United Kingdom. Free-ranging sika deer on Delmarva have lost neutral diversity due to founder and bottleneck events, yet populations have expanded in recent decades and show no evidence of abnormalities associated with inbreeding. We suggest management practices including increasing harvest areas and specifically managing sika deer outside of Maryland.

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Delmarva Peninsula