Remnant kenngoor (Phascogale calura) retain genetic connectivity and genetic diversity in a highly fragmented landscape

Rhiannon S.J. de Visser, Michelle Hall, Kym Ottewell, Jennifer C. Pierson, Angela Sanders, J. Anthony Friend, Laurence Berry, Carolyn Hogg, Renee A. Catullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kenngoor (Phascogale calura) persist in < 1% of their original distribution, occupying highly fragmented remnant habitat in south-west Western Australia, with very little known of the genetic diversity of the remaining wild populations. Recently, the species has been translocated to managed reserves to improve its conservation. Understanding genetic structure and patterns of genetic diversity is crucial to inform conservation translocations for species recovery. This study aims to (1) assess genetic structure and genetic diversity across remaining wild locations, (2) assess long-term genetic outcomes of a mixed-source wild-to-wild translocation, and (3) estimate global effective population size. We genotyped 209 samples from 13 locations of fragmented remnant habitat using reduced representation sequencing. An isolation by distance model best explained genetic structure across the survey areas, with evidence of fine scale divergence of two northern locations. Allelic richness and autosomal heterozygosity measures indicated that diversity is spread uniformly across locations, and no locations showed signs of inbreeding or strong genetic drift. The mixed-source translocation has retained the diversity of the wider species ten years post-translocation. Overall, our results suggest that connectivity between survey areas has largely been maintained and that no location has substantially lower genetic diversity, despite the highly fragmented nature of remnant kenngoor habitat. Future translocations should aim to represent a mixture of genetically divergent locations to maintain the diversity present at the species level. Ongoing conservation management will be required to ensure the long-term viability of the species in this fragmented landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-803
Number of pages15
JournalConservation Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Remnant kenngoor (Phascogale calura) retain genetic connectivity and genetic diversity in a highly fragmented landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this