[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monitoring the loss of genetic diversity in wild populations after a bottleneck event is a priority in conservation and management
plans. Here, we used diverse molecular markers to search for signatures of demographic bottlenecks in two wolf populations;
an isolated population from the Iberian Peninsula and a non-isolated population from European Russia. Autosomal, mtDNA and
Y-chromosomal diversity and the effective population size (Ne) were significantly lower in the Iberian population. Neutrality tests using mtDNA sequences, such as R2, Fu and Li’s F*, Tajima’s D and Fu’s Fs, were positively significant in the Iberian population, suggesting a population decline, but were not significant for the
Russian population, likely due to its larger effective population size. However, three tests using autosomal data confirmed
the occurrence of the genetic bottleneck in both populations. The M-ratio test was the only one providing significant results for both populations. Given the lack of consistency among the different
tests, we recommend using multiple approaches to investigate possible past bottlenecks. The small effective population size
(about 50) in the Iberian Peninsula compared to the presumed extant population size could indicate that the bottleneck was
more powerful than initially suspected or an overestimation of the current population. The risks associated with small effective
population sizes suggest that the genetic change in this population should be closely monitored in the future. On the other
hand, the relatively small effective population size for Russian wolves (a few hundred individuals) could indicate some fragmentation,
contrary to what is commonly assumed.
–mtDNA–Neutrality–Y-chromosome–Autosomal microsatellites–Effective population size–European wolf
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have developed new specific primers for sex determination from forensic samples of wolves (Canis lupus), such as hair, saliva, faecal, tooth and urine samples. In order to improve molecular sexing, we performed a multiplex semi-nested
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and several replicated amplifications per sample to avoid errors in low quantity DNA samples,
such as allelic dropout and false alleles. The sex of individuals is automatically determined by capillary electrophoresis
with a fluorescently labelled internal sex-specific primer from each pair. Our method yielded sex identification on 100% of
invasive samples and 93% of forensic samples, being one of the highest success rates obtained from wild animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From 1998 to 2000, 184 animals (82 wolves, 29 red foxes, 55 mustelids, 5 raccoon dogs, and 13 domestic dogs), mainly shot by hunters in the Tvier and Smoliensk regions of northwest European Russia, were tested for Trichinella larvae; 98 animals (53.3%) were found to be positive. The highest prevalence was detected in wolf (97.5%). Trichinella nativa was the most common species detected (98%). The diet of wolves was investigated by examining the stomach contents of 62 animals (75.6% of the total number of wolves examined for Trichinella). It consisted mainly of dog (36.4% of the total number of occurrences of all food items, PFO) and moose (31.2 PFO); however, during the hunting seasons of 1998-1999 and 1999-2000, skinned wolf carcasses were left in the forest as bait (567 carcasses, about 18,000 kg). This very high prevalence of Trichinella infection, the highest ever detected in a natural population of carnivores, could be explained by carnivore-carnivore transmission, influenced by the hunting practices adopted in the study area.
Journal of Parasitology 01/2002; 87(6):1498-501. DOI:10.1645/0022-3395(2001)087[1498:HPITPO]2.0.CO;2 · 1.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The wolf Canis lupus is a major terrestrial predator in eastern Europe and, as a top carnivore, may be exposed to high concentrations of contaminants that are readily transferred through the food chain. Despite this, there are few published data on pollutant and pesticide levels in wolves. This study utilised tissues from animals legally killed by hunters for other reasons (animals were not killed for the purposes of this study) to carry out the only detailed investigation of contaminants in wolves in Europe and the first in animals from Eastern Europe. The livers of 58 wolves from the Tver and Smoliensk regions of northwest Russia (54 degrees N 31 degrees E to 57 degrees N 35 degrees E) were analysed for seven organochlorine pesticides, 24 PCB congeners, Aroclor 1254-matched summed PCBs (sigmaPCBs), total mercury, cadmium and lead. Cadmium, most of the organochlorine pesticides and many PCB congeners were not detectable in any of the wolves. Hexachlorobenzene, alpha-HCH, pp'DDE, PCB congeners 118, 138, 149 and 156 and lead were detected in up to 6% of livers. Dieldrin, PCB congeners 153, 170 and 180, sigmaPCBs and mercury were detected more frequently. Contaminant levels were generally low; maximum wet weight concentrations of any of the organochlorine pesticides, sigmaPCBs and mercury were less than 0.1, 1 and 0.25 microg g(-1), respectively. PCB congeners 153, 170 and 180 accounted for 41% of the sigmaPCBs. Dieldrin, sigmaPCBs and mercury concentrations did not vary significantly between males and females nor between adult and juvenile (< 12 months old) wolves apart from the sigmaPCB concentration, which was on average five times higher in adults than juveniles. Liver residues were generally below the level normally associated with adverse effects except for lead levels which exceeded the critical 5 microg g(-1) dry wt. concentration in three of the 58 animals examined.
Science of The Total Environment 01/2002; 280(1-3):45-54. DOI:10.1016/S0048-9697(01)00802-6 · 4.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Forty-five skulls of European brown bears from the Central Forest Nature Reserve and adjacent regions were examined in detail.
The frequencies of oligodonty, dental caries, parodontosis, and traumatized teeth were estimated. A total of 12 variants of
the tooth formula were described. The sample under study was distinguished from the populations examined previously by the
lowest frequency of oligodonty. Dental caries in one or several teeth, caused by mechanical damage or malocclusion, occurred
in 14% of animals. Strong wear marks on the canines caused by feeding on oats frequently resulted in broken canines in bears
of the senior age groups.