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Data from: North-south differentiation and a region of high diversity in European wolves (Canis lupus)

Citation

Stronen, Astrid V. et al. (2018), Data from: North-south differentiation and a region of high diversity in European wolves (Canis lupus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9s1t9

Abstract

European wolves (Canis lupus) show population genetic structure in the absence of geographic barriers, and across relatively short distances for this highly mobile species. Additional information on the location of and divergence between population clusters is required, particularly because wolves are currently recolonizing parts of Europe. We evaluated genetic structure in 177 wolves from 11 countries using over 67K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci. The results supported previous findings of an isolated Italian population with lower genetic diversity than that observed across other areas of Europe. Wolves from the remaining countries were primarily structured in a north-south axis, with Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece (Dinaric-Balkan) differentiated from northcentral wolves that included individuals from Finland, Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Russia. Carpathian Mountain wolves in central Europe had genotypes intermediate between those identified in northcentral Europe and the Dinaric-Balkan cluster. Overall, individual genotypes from northcentral Europe suggested high levels of admixture. We observed high diversity within Belarus, with wolves from western and northern Belarus representing the two most differentiated groups within northcentral Europe. Our results support the presence of at least three major clusters (Italy, Carpathians, Dinaric-Balkan) in southern and central Europe. Individuals from Croatia also appeared differentiated from wolves in Greece and Bulgaria. Expansion from glacial refugia, adaptation to local environments, and human-related factors such as landscape fragmentation and frequent killing of wolves in some areas may have contributed to the observed patterns. Our findings can help inform conservation management of these apex predators and the ecosystems of which they are part.

Usage Notes

Location

Greece
Latvia
Europe
Finland
Ukraine
Poland
Italy
Slovakia
Belarus
Bulgaria
Croatia
Russia