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Data from: Individual variation and the source-sink group dynamics of extra-group paternity in a social mammal


Marjamaki, Paula H. et al. (2018), Data from: Individual variation and the source-sink group dynamics of extra-group paternity in a social mammal, Dryad, Dataset,


Movement of individuals, or their genes, can influence eco-evolutionary processes in structured populations. We have limited understanding of the extent to which spatial behaviour varies among groups and individuals within populations. Here we use genetic pedigree reconstruction in a long-term study of European badgers (Meles meles) to characterise the extent of extra-group paternity, occurring as a consequence of breeding excursions, and to test hypothesised drivers of variation at multiple levels. We jointly estimate parentage and paternity distance (PD; distance between a cub’s natal and its father’s social group), and test whether population density and sex ratio influence mean annual PD. We also model cub-level PD and extra-group paternity (EGP) to test for variation among social groups and parental individuals. Mean PD varied among years but was not explained by population density or sex ratio. However, cub-level analysis shows strong effects of social group, and parental identities, with some parental individuals being consistently more likely to produce cubs with extra-group partners. Group effects were partially explained by local sex ratio. There was also a strong negative correlation between maternal and paternal social group effects on cub paternity distance, indicating source-sink dynamics. Our analyses of paternity distance and EGP indicate variation in extra-group mating at multiple levels – among years, social groups and individuals. The latter in particular is a phenomenon seldom documented and suggests that gene flow among groups may be disproportionately mediated by a non-random subset of adults, emphasising the importance of the individual in driving eco-evolutionary dynamics.

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United Kingdom
Woodchester Park