Genetic population structure of fishers (Pekania pennanti) in the great lakes region

Paul Hapeman, Emily K. Latch, Olin E. Rhodes, Brad Swanson, C. William Kilpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Reintroduction programs have been pivotal in augmenting populations of fishers (Pekania pennanti (Erxleben, 1777)) and re-establishing them to their former range in North America. The majority of reintroduction efforts in fishers have been considered demographically successful, but reintroductions can alter genetic population structure and success has rarely been evaluated in fishers from a genetic standpoint. We used microsatellite data (n = 169) to examine genetic population structure of fishers in the Great Lakes region and comment on the success of past reintroductions at two different spatial scales. We found significant genetic population structure among source and reintroduced populations within the Great Lakes region and largescale genetic structure between fisher populations located in two geographically distant regions (Great Lakes and Northeast) in the eastern United States. Reintroductions associated with the Great Lakes produced results that were largely consistent with other studies of fisher reintroductions in the Northeast. However, our data are the first to support a measurable impact on genetic population structure in Pekania pennanti pennanti (Erxleben, 1777) from a reintroduction using geographically distant source and reintroduced populations. When feasible, we strongly recommend that reintroduction programs include an investigation of the underlying genetic structure to better define intended goals and supplement measures of demographic success.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
StatePublished - 2017


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