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Genetic diversity in natural and introduced island populations of koalas in Queensland

Kristen E. LeeA, Jennifer M. SeddonB, Stephen JohnstonC, Sean I. FitzGibbonA, Frank CarrickA, Alistair MelzerD, Fred BercovitchE and William EllisA,D,F

ACentre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.
BSchool of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.
CSchool of Animal and Food Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.
DCentral Queensland University, Centre for Environmental Management, Rockhampton, Qld 4700, Australia.
EPrimate Research Institute and Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, 41-2 Kanrin Inuyama, Aichi 484-8506, Japan.
F
Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT
Island populations of animals are expected to show reduced genetic variation and increased incidence of inbreeding because of founder effects and the susceptibility of small populations to the effects of genetic drift. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) occur naturally in a patchy distribution across much of the eastern Australian mainland and on a small number of islands near the Australian coast. We compared the genetic diversity of the naturally occurring population of koalas on North Stradbroke Island in south-east Queensland with other island populations including the introduced group on St Bees Island in central Queensland.The population on St Bees Island shows higher diversity (allelic richness 4.1,He = 0.67) than the North Stradbroke Island population (allelic richness 3.2, He = 0.55). Koalas on Brampton, Newry and Rabbit Islands possessed microsatellite alleles that were not identified from St Bees Island koalas, indicating that it is most unlikely that these populations were established by a sole secondary introduction from St Bees Island. Mitochondrial haplotypes on the central Queensland islands were more similar to a haplotype found at Springsure in central Queensland and the inland clades in southeast Queensland, rather than the coastal clade in south-east Queensland.

  • All
  • 2013
  • Biogeography
  • Biology
  • Chlamydia
  • Diet
  • Disease
  • Ecology
  • Ellis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Genetics
  • Habitat
  • Infection
  • Interventions
  • Koala
  • Lunney
  • Threats
  • Timms
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