Richard Frankham

Richard Frankham
Macquarie University · Department of Biological Sciences

BSc Agr (Hons 1) PhD DSc

About

186
Publications
81,627
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
29,106
Citations
Introduction
I trained in agriculture and did my PhD in quantitative genetics on the effects on response to artificial selection of different population sizes. This was followed by a career in animal breeding and quantitative genetics, until 1990 when I moved into full-time work on conservation genetics. That has involved modelling problems using Drosophila, meta-analyses, computer modelling, and 5 textbooks, most recently "A Practical Guide for Genetic Management of Fragmented Animal and Plant Populations"
Additional affiliations
February 1971 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Professor Emeritus

Publications

Publications (186)
Article
Full-text available
In the current negotiations regarding revision of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) proposals have been made to strengthen the genetic goals, indicators, and targets for wild species in natural habitats by specifying “tolerable” losses of genetic diversity. However, they have not been subjected to evaluations of their continued use over...
Article
Full-text available
Zoo and wildlife hospital networks are set to become a vital component of Australia’s contemporary efforts to conserve the iconic and imperiled koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Managed breeding programs held across zoo-based networks typically face high economic costs and can be at risk of adverse genetic effects typical of unavoidably small captive...
Article
Full-text available
Captive breeding is an important tool for amphibian conservation despite high economic costs and deleterious genetic effects of sustained captivity and unavoidably small colony sizes. Integration of biobanking and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) could provide solutions to these challenges, but is rarely used due to lack of recognition of...
Article
Full-text available
Captive breeding is an integral part of global conservation efforts despite high costs and adverse genetic effects associated with unavoidably small population sizes. Supplementing captive-bred populations with biobanked founder sperm to restore genetic diversity offers a solution to colony size, costs and inbreeding, yet is rarely done, partly due...
Article
Genetic rescue – ameliorating inbreeding depression and restoring genetic diversity of inbred populations through gene flow - is valuable in wildlife conservation. Empirically validated recommendations for genetic rescue supported by evolutionary genetics theory advise maximizing genetic diversity in target populations. Instead, recent papers based...
Chapter
The first step in conservation management is to delineate groups for separate versus combined management. However, there are many problems with species delineation, including diverse species definitions, lack of standardized protocols, and poor repeatability of delineations. Definitions that are too broad will lead to outbreeding depression if popu...
Chapter
Adverse genetic impacts on fragmented populations are expected to worsen under global climate change. Many populations and species may not be able to adapt in situ , or to move unassisted to suitable habitat. Management may reduce these threats by augmenting genetic diversity to improve the ability to adapt evolutionarily, by translocation, includi...
Chapter
Inbreeding is reduced and genetic diversity enhanced when a small isolated inbred population is crossed to another unrelated population. Crossing can have beneficial or harmful effects on fitness, but beneficial effects predominate, and the risks of harmful ones (outbreeding depression) can be predicted and avoided. For crosses with a low risk of o...
Chapter
Evidence of population structure and limited gene flow often leads to the questionable conclusion that populations should be managed as separate unit. A paradigm shift is needed where evidence of genetic differentiation among populations is followed by an assessment of whether populations are suffering genetic erosion, whether there are other popul...
Chapter
Genetic management of fragmented populations involves the application of evolutionary genetic theory and knowledge to alleviate problems due to inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity in small population fragments. Populations evolve through the effects of mutation, natural selection, chance (genetic drift), and gene flow. Large outbreeding sexual...
Chapter
Inbreeding reduces survival and reproduction (i.e. it causes inbreeding depression), and thereby increases extinction risk. Inbreeding depression is due to increased homozygosity for harmful alleles and at loci exhibiting heterozygote advantage. Inbreeding depression is nearly universal in sexually reproducing organisms that are diploid or have hig...
Chapter
Most species now have fragmented distributions, often with adverse genetic consequences. The genetic impacts of population fragmentation depend critically upon gene flow among fragments and their effective sizes. Fragmentation with cessation of gene flow is highly harmful in the long term, leading to greater inbreeding, increased loss of genetic di...
Chapter
Even without detailed genetic data, sound genetic management strategies for augmenting gene flow can be instituted by considering population genetics theory, and/or computer simulations. When detailed data are lacking, moving (translocating) some individuals into isolated inbred population fragments is better than moving none, as long as the risk o...
Article
Thousands of species have been introduced to new ranges worldwide. These introductions provide opportunities for researchers to study evolutionary changes in form and function in response to new environmental conditions. However, almost all previous studies of morphological change in introduced species have compared introduced populations to popula...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are responsible for a cataclysm of species extinction that will change the world as we see it, and will adversely affect human health and wellbeing. We need to understand at individual and societal levels why species conservation is important. Accepting the premise that species have value, we need to next consider the mechanisms underlying s...
Article
Full-text available
Thousands of small populations are at increased risk of extinction because genetics and evolutionary biology are not well-integrated into conservation planning – a major lost opportunity for effective actions. We propose that if the risk of outbreeding depression is low, the default should be to evaluate restoration of gene flow to small inbred pop...
Book
Full-text available
One of the greatest unmet issues in conservation biology is the genetic management of fragmented animal and plant populations. Many species across the planet have fragmented distributions with some small isolated populations that are potentially suffering from inbreeding, loss of genetic diversity, and elevated extinction risk. Fortunately, these e...
Article
Many species have isolated, inbred populations that have a high risk of extinction from inbreeding depression. While inbreeding can be reversed by outcrossing (genetic rescue), doubts have been expressed about whether fitness benefits persist beyond the F1 generation. To address this issue, I used a meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of outcross...
Article
Many species have fragmented distribution with small isolated populations suffering inbreeding depression and/or reduced ability to evolve. Without gene flow from another population within the species (genetic rescue), these populations are likely to be extirpated. However, there have been only ~ 20 published cases of such outcrossing for conservat...
Chapter
Inbreeding refers to mating of related individuals. It results in a decline in survival and reproduction (reproductive fitness) in inbred progeny, known as inbreeding depression, in most species of plants and animals. Outbreeding refers to matings between individuals from different populations, subspecies, or species. Outbreeding can result in a de...
Article
The Letter from Rosenfeld (2014, Biological Conservation) in response to Jamieson and Allendorf (2012, Trends in Ecology and Evolution) and Frankham et al. (2014, Biological Conservation) and related papers is misleading in places and requires clarification and correction. We provide those here.
Chapter
Full-text available
Inbreeding refers to mating of related individuals. It results in a decline in survival and reproduction (reproductive fitness), known as inbreeding depression, in most species of plants and animals. Outbreeding refers to matings between individuals from different populations, subspecies, or species. Outbreeding can result in a decline in reproduct...
Article
Full-text available
Some introduced populations thrive and evolve despite the presumed loss of diversity at introduction. We aimed to quantify the amount of genetic diversity retained at introduction in species that have shown evidence of adaptation to their introduced environments. Samples were taken from native and introduced ranges of Arctotheca populifolia and Pet...
Article
Full-text available
Translocations are being increasingly proposed as a way of conserving biodiversity, particularly in the management of threatened and keystone species, with the aims of maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function under the combined pressures of habitat fragmentation and climate change. Evolutionary genetic considerations should be an important p...
Article
Levels of genetic diversity in finite populations are crucial in conservation and evolutionary biology. Genetic diversity is required for populations to evolve and its loss is related to inbreeding in random mating populations, and thus to reduced population fitness and increased extinction risk. Neutral theory is widely used to predict levels of g...
Article
Fragmentation of animal and plant populations typically leads to genetic erosion and increased probability of extirpation. Although these effects can usually be reversed by re-establishing gene flow between population fragments, managers sometimes fail to do so due to fears of outbreeding depression (OD). Rapid development of OD is due primarily to...
Article
I discuss future challenges and opportunities in genetic approaches to biodiversity conservation. Resolving taxonomy uncertainties and identifying diverged evolutionary units within species are both bedevilled by a plethora of definitions: the challenge for the conservation community is to come to an agreed definition of species and for a unit with...
Article
Many threatened species are being maintained in captivity to save them from extinction, often with the eventual aim of reintroduction. The objective of genetic management in captivity is to ‘freeze’ evolution i.e. to avoid genetic adaptation to captivity and to retain genetic diversity. Most current genetic management of threatened species addresse...
Data
ANOVA table for maximum dark-adapted fluorescence yield (Fv/Fm) and coral (holobiont) growth. (0.05 MB DOC)
Data
ANOVA table for light-adapted fluorescence yields (ΦPSII, ΦNPQ, and ΦNO). (0.07 MB DOC)
Data
ANOVA table for symbiont pigment ratios (DT/(DD+DT) and XP/(LH+XP)). (0.05 MB DOC)
Data
ANOVA table for coral host gene expression (Magnetic Island). (0.05 MB DOC)
Data
ANOVA table for coral host gene expression (Orpheus Island). (0.05 MB DOC)
Article
Full-text available
The persistence of tropical coral reefs is threatened by rapidly increasing climate warming, causing a functional breakdown of the obligate symbiosis between corals and their algal photosymbionts (Symbiodinium) through a process known as coral bleaching. Yet the potential of the coral-algal symbiosis to genetically adapt in an evolutionary sense to...
Article
Full-text available
To ensure both long-term persistence and evolutionary potential, the required number of individuals in a population often greatly exceeds the targets proposed by conservation management. We critically review minimum population size requirements for species based on empirical and theoretical estimates made over the past few decades. This literature...
Article
An official journal of the Genetics Society, Heredity publishes high-quality articles describing original research and theoretical insights in all areas of genetics. Research papers are complimented by News & Commentary articles and reviews, keeping researchers and students abreast of hot topics in the field.
Chapter
Genetic considerations are important both to the initial success of reintroduction programmes and to their long-term viability. Genetic contributions to initial success will be maximized by choosing founders with low inbreeding coeffi cients and high genetic diversity that are well adapted to the reintroduction environment. Inbreeding and loss of g...
Chapter
Reproductive fitness characters are crucial in animal and plant breeding, evolutionary genetics and conservation biology. However, the nature of their variation is not well understood. I review evidence on the comparative architecture of genetic variation for fitness and peripheral characters for both wild populations and domestic livestock. Fitnes...
Book
Fitness and adaptation are fundamental characteristics of plant and animal species, enabling them to survive in their environment and to adapt to the inevitable changes in this environment. This is true for both the genetic resources of natural ecosystems as well as those used in agricultural production. Extensive genetic variation exists between v...
Article
The effective population size is required to predict the rate of inbreeding and loss of genetic variation in wildlife. Since only census population size is normally available, it is critical to know the ratio of effective to actual population size (Ne/N). Published estimates of Ne/N (192 from 102 species) were analysed to identify major variables a...
Article
It is critical to search for, and to apply, robust generalizations in conservation biology as species-specific data on endangered species are often limited. While generalizations are common in conservation genetics, where processes are treated on the scale of generations, the unique population dynamics of species are often stressed in ecology and c...
Article
As wild environments are often inhospitable, many species have to be captive-bred to save them from extinction. In captivity, species adapt genetically to the captive environment and these genetic adaptations are overwhelmingly deleterious when populations are returned to wild environments. I review empirical evidence on (i) the genetic basis of ad...
Article
Undomesticated (wild) banteng are endangered in their native habitats in Southeast Asia. A potential conservation resource for the species is a large, wild population in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in northern Australia, descended from 20 individuals that were released from a failed British outpost in 1849. Because of the founding bottleneck, w...
Article
Conservation and the Genetics of PopulationsBY FRED W. ALLENDORF AND GORDON LUIKART xix + 642 pp., 34.5 × 17 × 3 cm, ISBN 1 4051 2145 9 paperback, GB£ 34.99/US$ 69.95, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2006 - - Volume 34 Issue 1 - RICHARD FRANKHAM
Article
Inbreeding is reputed to distort sex-ratios by reducing the proportion of the homogametic sex. However, many data sets do not show such an effect, and there is a known selective publication bias. To resolve the issue, we (a) developed detailed theoretical expectations for the effects of inbreeding on sex-ratios for autosomal and sex-linked loci wit...
Article
The role of inbreeding depression in the extinction of wild populations is controversial, largely because there are no quantitative estimates of its impact using realistic levels of inbreeding depression. To address this deficiency, this study (1) provides a comprehensive estimate of the impact of inbreeding depression on wild, mammalian and avian...
Article
Genetic adaptation to captive environments is likely to reduce the reproductive fitness of endangered species when they are reintroduced into natural environments. Equalization of family sizes is predicted to halve genetic adaptation to captivity as it removes selection among families and is recommended in captive management of threatened species....
Article
The role of genetic factors in extinction has been a controversial issue, especially since Lande’s paper [Genetics and demography in biological conservation, Science 241 (1988) 1455–1460] paper in Science. Here I review the evidence on the contribution of genetic factors to extinction risk. Inbreeding depression, loss of genetic diversity and mutat...
Article
The biodiversity of the planet is rapidly being depleted, largely as a direct and indirect consequence of human activities (the 'sixth extinction': Leakey and Lewin, 1995). IUCN, the World conservation Union, recognizes the need to conserve biodiversity at three levels: genetic, species and ecosystem diversity (McNeely et al, 1990). Genetics is kno...
Article
Stress, adaptation and evolution are major concerns in conservation biology. Stresses from pollution, climatic changes, disease etc. may affect population persistence. Further, stress typically occurs when species are placed in captivity. Threatened species are usually managed to conserve their ability to adapt to environmental changes, whilst spec...
Article
Quantitative genetic variation, the main determinant of the ability to evolve, is expected to be lost in small populations, but there are limited data on the effect, and controversy as to whether it is similar to that for near neutral molecular variation. Genetic variation for abdominal and sternopleural bristle numbers and allozyme heterozygosity...
Article
Many different systems are used to assess levels of threat faced by species. Prominent ones are those used by the World Conservation Union, NatureServe, and the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission (now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). These systems assign taxa a threat ranking by assessing their demographic and ecolog...
Article
Full-text available
There is controversy concerning the role of genetic factors in species extinctions. Many authors have asserted that species are usually driven to extinction before genetic factors have time to impact them, but few studies have seriously addressed this issue. If this assertion is true, there will be little difference in genetic diversity between thr...
Article
Cited By (since 1996):1, Export Date: 26 November 2013, Source: Scopus
Article
Full-text available
Inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity are predicted to decrease the resistance of species to disease. However, this issue is controversial and there is limited rigorous scientific evidence available. To test whether inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity affect a host''s resistance to disease, Drosophila melanogasterpopulations with different...
Article
Full-text available
Direct estimates of extinction risk are frequently unavailable, so surrogate indicators are used in threatened species categorizations, but there is inadequate information on which best predict vulnerability. We compared the ability of 16 frequently-used factors to predict extinction risk for 45 vertebrate taxa. Median times to extinction were esti...
Article
Full-text available
The issue of time scaling in conservation biology and ecology is rarely considered, yet has crucial implications. If time scale is inappropriate, it impedes the search for generalities. Data on threatened species are typically limited, so the search for generalities is important in conservation biology where extrapolations from well studied taxa to...
Article
Decisions in conservation biology must be made in the face of uncertainty, due to lack of information. Experimental evidence is required to reduce that uncertainty, Many important conceptual issues in conservation biology cannot be answered by research on threatened species. Research with laboratory species provides a critical link between theory a...
Article
Full-text available
Preface Take home messages 1. Introduction 2. Genetic diversity 3. Evolutionary genetics of natural populations 4. Genetic consequences of small population size 5. Genetics and extinction 6. Resolving taxonomic uncertainties and defining management units 7. Genetic management of endangered species in the wild 8. Captive breeding and reintroduction...
Article
Population size is a major determinant of extinction risk. However, controversy remains as to how large populations need to be to ensure persistence. It is generally believed that minimum viable population sizes (MVPs) would be highly specific, depending on the environmental and life history characteristics of the species. We used population viabil...
Article
Population bottlenecks occur frequently inthreatened species and result in loss ofgenetic diversity and evolutionary potential.These may range in severity between shortintense bottlenecks, and more diffusebottlenecks over many generations. However,there is little information on the impacts ofdifferent types of bottlenecks and disagreementas to thei...
Article
Conservation genetics encompasses genetic management of small populations, resolution of taxonomic uncertainties and management units, and the use of molecular genetic analyses in forensics and to understanding species' biology. The role of genetic factors in extinctions of wild populations has been controversial, but evidence now shows that they m...
Article
The ability of populations to undergo adaptive evolution depends on the presence of genetic variation for ecologically important traits. The maintenance of genetic variation may be influenced by many variables, particularly long-term effective population size and the strength and form of selection. The roles of these factors are controversial and t...
Article
The ability of populations to undergo adaptive evolution depends on the presence of genetic variation for ecologically important traits. The maintenance of genetic variation may be influenced by many variables, particularly long-term effective population size and the strength and form of selection. The roles of these factors are controversial and t...
Article
Rare bouts of extreme environmental perturbations (catastrophes) have been predicted to have a major influence on the probability of extinction. Yet very little information is available on the frequency and severity of catastrophes. Improving the available information concerning catastrophe parameters would allow for an evaluation of their effect a...
Article
Rare bouts of extreme environmental perturbations (catastrophes) have been predicted to have a major influence on the probability of extinction. Yet very little information is available on the frequency and severity of catastrophes. Improving the available information concerning catastrophe parameters would allow for an evaluation of their effect a...
Article
Genetic diversity is one of the three forms of biodiversity recognized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as deserving conservation. The need to conserve genetic diversity within populations is based on two arguments: the necessity of genetic diversity for evolution to occur, and the expected relation-ship between heterozygosity and population...
Article
Deleterious alleles may be removed (purged) bynatural selection in populations undergoinginbreeding. However, there is controversyregarding the effectiveness of selection inreducing the risk of extinction due toinbreeding, especially in relation to the rateof inbreeding. We evaluated the effect of therate of inbreeding on reducing extinction risk,i...