Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lineage Loss in Cheetahs

As with most species, there are many different reasons for the cheetah being endangered. Habitat loss, high cub mortality from predation, and abnormalities due to inbreeding are just some of them. This journal paper by Marcella Kelly from UC Davis (Go Ags!) looks at the lineage of Serengeti cheetahs. These cheetahs have a small population and with that comes a few consequences that Kelly mentions. The effective population turns out to be only 15% of the original when fluctuation population size, unequal sex ratio, skewed distribution of lifetime reproductive success, and heritability were included. As discussed in lecture, small populations like that of the cheetah's are susceptible to many negative effects. Such effects include the increased likely hood of diseases wiping them out, increased deleterious alleles, and, as mentioned before, essentially reduces the effective population size. Under IUCN the cheetahs were listed under vulnerable, although I noticed conflicting opinions.

No comments: