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Perturbation drives changing metapopulation dynamics in a top marine predator

Citation

Carroll, Emma L et al. (2020), Perturbation drives changing metapopulation dynamics in a top marine predator, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j9kd51c8j

Abstract

Metapopulation theory assumes a balance between local decays/extinctions and local growth/new colonisations. Here we investigate whether recent population declines across part of the UK harbour seal range represent normal metapopulation dynamics or are indicative of perturbations potentially threatening the metapopulation viability, using 20 years of population trends, location tracking data ( n = 380), and UK-wide, multi-generational population genetic data ( n = 269). First, we use microsatellite data to show that two genetic groups previously identified are distinct metapopulations: northern and southern. Then, we characterize the northern metapopulation dynamics in two different periods, before and after the start of regional declines (pre-/peri-perturbation). We identify source–sink dynamics across the northern metapopulation, with two putative source populations apparently supporting three likely sink populations, and a recent metapopulation-wide disruption of migration coincident with the perturbation. The northern metapopulation appears to be in decay, highlighting that changes in local populations can lead to radical alterations in the overall metapopulation's persistence and dynamics.

Methods

See manuscript

Usage Notes

This archive contains two files

1. Genelemetry_harbour_seal_metadata_dryad_final.xlsx

Excel file containing metadata for samples used in the paper analysis, including sampling location, sampling seal management unit, and local population

2. HarbourSealGenepopFormat.txt

Text file containing multi-locus genotypes for harbour seals used in the analysis in genepop format.

Funding

Dept. Energy and Climate Change

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Marine Current Turbines Limited

Marine Scotland Science

Moray Firth Offshore Renewables Limited

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: 10/001

BBC Wildlife Fund

SITA Trust

Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Scottish Funding Council, Award: HR09011

Royal Society of London, Award: Newton International Fellowship

Royal Society of New Zealand, Award: Rutherford Discovery Fellowship

Scottish Natural Heritage

Dept. Energy and Climate Change

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd

Marine Current Turbines Limited

Marine Scotland Science

Moray Firth Offshore Renewables Limited

BBC Wildlife Fund

SITA Trust

Royal Society of London, Award: Newton International Fellowship