Assessing the geographic origin of the invasive grey squirrel using DNA sequencing: Implications for management strategies

Claire D. Stevenson-Holt, William Sinclair
2015 Global Ecology and Conservation  
The invasive grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis has become a major pest species causing negative effects to forestry and biodiversity. This study aims to assess the origin of grey squirrel within Cumbria using phylogeographic analysis to aid in management and control. The work reported analysed mitochondrial DNA sequences in the D-Loop gene of 73 grey squirrel individuals from multiple locations in the UK. The results indicate that individuals in north Cumbria are derived from individuals from
more » ... cotland and North East England. Other individuals in north Cumbria share a unique haplotype with south Cumbria and Lancashire suggesting a southerly origin and movement around or over the Cumbrian Mountain range which is thought of as a barrier to movements. The assessment of invasive species geographical origin and the identification of potential wildlife transit corridors through natural barriers are becoming more important as species shift range in response to environmental and ecological changes. With the grey squirrel population expansion also occurring in Italy, the European red squirrel may become threatened across its entire range. It is crucial to understand the population origins of the invasive grey squirrel and landscape usage to successfully manage the incursion routes and control the population.
doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2014.11.005 fatcat:tgvqtumujver7iaepeevhnglgu