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Data from: Dynamic colonization history in a rediscovered Isle Royale carnivore

Cite this dataset

Manlick, Philip J.; Romanksi, Mark C.; Pauli, Jonathan N. (2019). Data from: Dynamic colonization history in a rediscovered Isle Royale carnivore [Dataset]. Dryad.


Island ecosystems are globally threatened, and efforts to restore historical communities are widespread. Such conservation efforts should be informed by accurate assessments of historical community composition to establish appropriate restoration targets. Isle Royale National Park is one of the most researched island ecosystems in the world, yet little is actually known about the biogeographic history of most Isle Royale taxa. To address this uncertainty and inform restoration targets, we determined the phylogeographic history of American martens (Martes americana), a species rediscovered on Isle Royale 76 years after presumed extirpation. We characterized the genetic composition of martens throughout the Great Lakes region using nuclear and mitochondrial markers, identified the source of Isle Royale martens using genetic structure analyses, and used demographic bottleneck tests to evaluate (eliminate redundancy of test). 3 competing colonization scenarios. Martens exhibited significant structure regionally, including a distinct Isle Royale cluster, but mitochondrial sequences revealed no monophyletic clades or evolutionarily significant units. Rather, martens were historically extirpated and recolonized Isle Royale from neighbouring Ontario, Canada in the late 20th century. These findings illustrate the underappreciated dynamics of island communities, underscore the importance of historical biogeography for establishing restoration baselines, and provide optimism for extirpated and declining Isle Royale vertebrates whose reintroductions have been widely debated.

Usage notes


United States
Isle Royale