, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 55-62

Extinction of populations by inbreeding depression under stochastic environments

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Inbreeding depression may induce rapid extinction due to positive feedbacks between inbreeding depression and reduction of population size, which is often referred to as extinction vortex by inbreeding depression. The present analysis has demonstrated that the extinction vortex is likely to happen with realistic parameter values of genomic mutation rate of lethals or semilethals, equilibrium population size, intrinsic rate of natural increase, and rate of population decline caused by nongenetic extrinsic factors. Simulation models incorporating stochastic fluctuations of population size further indicated that extinction by inbreeding depression is facilitated by environmental fluctuations in population size. The results suggest that there is a positive interaction between genetic stochasticity and environmental stochasticity for extinction of populations by inbreeding depression.