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Data from: The roles of demography and genetics in the early stages of colonization


Szűcs, Marianna; Melbourne, Brett A.; Tuff, Ty; Hufbauer, Ruth A. (2014), Data from: The roles of demography and genetics in the early stages of colonization, Dryad, Dataset,


Colonization success increases with the size of the founding group. Both demographic and genetic factors underlie this relationship, yet because genetic diversity normally increases with numbers of individuals, their relative importance remains unclear. Furthermore, their influence may depend on the environment and may change as colonization progresses from establishment through population growth and then dispersal. We tested the roles of genetics, demography and environment in the founding of Tribolium castaneum populations. Using three genetic backgrounds (inbred to outbred), we released individuals of four founding sizes (2–32) into two environments (natal and novel), and measured establishment success, initial population growth and dispersal. Establishment increased with founding size, whereas population growth was shaped by founding size, genetic background and environment. Population growth was depressed by inbreeding at small founding sizes, but growth rates were similar across genetic backgrounds at large founding size, an interaction indicating that the magnitude of the genetic effects depends upon founding population size. Dispersal rates increased with genetic diversity. These results suggest that numbers of individuals may drive initial establishment, but that subsequent population growth and spread, even in the first generation of colonization, can be driven by genetic processes, including both reduced growth owing to inbreeding depression, and increased dispersal with increased genetic diversity.

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