Loss of genetic variability in a fragmented continuously distributed population

  • Masakado Kawata
Original Paper


An individual-based simulation model was used to examine the effect of population subdivision, dispersal distance of offspring, and migration rates between subpopulations on genetic variability(H 1 H S andH T ) in a continuously distributed population. Some difficulties with mathematical models of a continuously distributed population have been pointed out. The individual-based model can avoid these difficulties and can be used to examine genetic variability in a population within which individuals are distributed continuously and in which the dispersal of individuals is disturbed by geographical or artificial barriers. The present simulation showed that the pattern of decrease inH 1 had three stages. During the first stage,H 1 decreased at the rates predicted by Wright’s neighborhood size. During the second stage,H 1 decreased more rapidly when the migration rate decreased, while during the third stage, it decreased less rapidly when the migration rate decreased. Increasing the number of subdivisions increased the rate of decrease after the 200th generation. The pattern of decrease inH T was classified into 2 stages. During the first stage, the rates of decrease corresponded with those of a randomly mating population. During the second stage, a decrease in the migration rates of the subpopulations slowed the rate of decrease inH T . A uniform spatial distribution and a reduced total dispersal distance of offspring causedH 1 H S , andH T to decrease more rapidly. Habitat fragmentation in a continuously distributed population usually was detrimental to the genetic variability in the early generations. Other implications of the results for conservation are discussed.

Key words

effective population size fragmentation genetic variability heterozygosity individualbased model subdivision 


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Copyright information

© Society of Population Ecology 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biological Institute, Graduate School of ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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