Conservation Genetics Resources

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 987–989 | Cite as

Detecting population recovery using gametic disequilibrium-based effective population size estimates

  • David A. Tallmon
  • Robin S. Waples
  • Dave Gregovich
  • Michael K. Schwartz
Technical Note


Recovering populations often must meet specific growth rate or abundance targets before their legal status can be changed from endangered or threatened. While the efficacy, power, and performance of population metrics to infer trends in declining populations has received considerable attention, how these same metrics perform when populations are increasing is less clear. We examined the ability of a one-sample effective population size (N e ) estimator (LDNe) to discriminate between stable and increasing population trends across varying sample and initial population sizes. The performance of LDNe was compared to the Lincoln-Peterson (LP) abundance (N) estimator. The ability to identify stable and increasing populations varied widely across sample sizes and number of generations between sequentially collected samples, but LDNe outperformed LP. One-sample N e estimates show promise as an efficient method of detecting population increase when samples of 60–120 individuals are collected 5–10 generations apart.


Abundance Effective population size Genetic monitoring Population recovery Population trend 



This work was conducted as part of the ‘Working Group on Genetic Monitoring: Development of Tools for Conservation and Management’ (PIs Fred Allendorf and Mike Schwartz) supported by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NSF #EF-0423641) and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a Center funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF #DEB-0553768), the University of California, Santa Barbara and the State of California.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Tallmon
    • 1
  • Robin S. Waples
    • 2
  • Dave Gregovich
    • 1
  • Michael K. Schwartz
    • 3
  1. 1.Biology and Marine Biology ProgramUniversity of Alaska SoutheastJuneauUSA
  2. 2.Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSeattleUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research StationMissoulaUSA

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