Significance of population genetics for managing small natural and reintroduced populations in New Zealand

Conservation biology has had a long-standing debate about the relative importance of genetic processes in increasing the risk of extinction in threatened species. We assume that priority should be given to securing a species from extinction by stopping significant declines in numbers and then managing the secured populations to recovery by creating opportunities for population growth.

Multiple paternity and differential male breeding success in wild ship rats (Rattus rattus)

Multiple paternity increases the genetic diversity of litters, hence could have two important implications for the control of invasive pests in which multiple paternity is common. (1) Migrating pregnant females could establish a new population with substantial genetic variation from the first generation; (2) Existing populations could recover from a control operation with minimal bottleneck effect. We therefore sought information on the extent of this character in ship rats (Rattus rattus), and on the probability of pregnant females avoiding capture or moving to new areas.