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Some applications of genetics in statistical ecology

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Abstract

Genetic data are in widespread use in ecological research, and an understanding of this type of data and its uses and interpretations will soon be an imperative for ecological statisticians. Here, we provide an introduction to the subject, intended for statisticians who have no previous knowledge of genetics. Although there are numerous types of genetic data, we restrict attention to multilocus genotype data from microsatellite loci. We look at two application areas in wide use: investigating population structure using genetic assignment and related techniques; and using genotype data in capture–recapture studies for estimating population size and demographic parameters. In each case, we outline the conceptual framework and draw attention to both the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to analysis and interpretation.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand through Marsden grant 03-UOA-117. Thanks to Emma Carroll who checked the manuscript for biological soundness, and to Mark Bravington for comments on close-kin mark–recapture and other genetic methods. Many thanks to the associate editor and referees whose insightful comments greatly improved the paper.

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Correspondence to R. M. Fewster.

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Fewster, R.M. Some applications of genetics in statistical ecology. AStA Adv Stat Anal 101, 349–379 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10182-016-0273-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10182-016-0273-0

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