Since the premise of this blog is write about evolution, conservation, and their intersection, the thesis of this article (open), that evolution can inform conservation, is nothing new to us! The authors layout the links between these two disciplines nicely and give researchers ideas for a path forward in evolutionary conservation.
Two ecotypes of killer whales (Orcinus orca) have different foraging strategies (“residents” which eat fish, and “transients” which eat marine mammals) and behaviors although populations can live in the same area in sympatry. Despite potential for high connectivity in vast oceans, this study (open) found all populations significantly different from one another at both neutral and adaptive genetic loci. The pattern of differentiation suggests local adaptation likely attributed to different habitat use and resource specializations.
Red Fox Phylogeography
This article (sub) investigates the worldwide colonization patterns and timing of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). The in-depth analysis analyses uses mitochondrial (maternally inherited), Y-chromosome (paternally inherited), and multiple nuclear sequences to infer the geographic expansion, particularly the expansion from Asia into North America. They observed that the red fox expanded into North America later than several small mammals which colonized ~1Mya but earlier than larger carnivores with a Wisconsin glacial colonization (although the authors do not tie the colonization to body size).