The main aim for the project is to obtain an overview of the genetic structure and variation found in Fennoscandian semi-domestic reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, and to discuss the main drivers of genetic differentiation within this region. This is important because it give us a better understanding of the history of semi domestic reindeer in Fennoscandia, as well as more information on how reindeer historically have responded to both anthropogenic impacts and climatic change. This have important management implications, as it will shed new light on how reindeer, and other large herbivores, will react to the predicted future climate change. We will use an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) approach to infer alternative historic scenarios of divergence and admixture that may explain the observed genetic structure (based on preliminary results that have documented three genetic clusters of Fennoscandian reindeer). Time estimates for the divergence will allow us to discuss if the current genetic-based time for divergence co-occurred with historical anthropogenic impacts and/or large-scale climatic changes. Further, to study current genetic variation and the factors that affects levels of variation, we will assess a possible relationship between population size and genetic variation (with the possibility to add other potential covariates such as e.g. climate and harvest pressure) in the herds under study.
Project manager: Bård-Jørgen Bårdsen
Project code: 482 1072019