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Humans act against the natural process of breeder selection: A modern sickness for animal populations?

Abstract

We present a new idea about the possible effects of human-induced mortality on different age cohorts (i.e., breeders vs. juveniles) in long-lived animals. Our hypothesis is based on Curio’s idea on the effect of natural selective processes on cohorts to explain age-related increases in fecundity (selection hypothesis). We believe that negative human pressure may modify such contribution to reproduction of good versus low quality phenotypes, altering the genetic structure of the population. Ecologists and environmental managers in general should be aware of how stochastic events provoked by humans may induce changes in the genetic structure of populations.

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Correspondence to Javier Balbontín.

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Balbontín, J., Penteriani, V. & Ferrer, M. Humans act against the natural process of breeder selection: A modern sickness for animal populations?. Biodivers Conserv 14, 179–186 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-005-5043-3

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Key words

  • Age cohorts
  • Bonelli’s Eagle
  • Genetic structure of population
  • Human impact
  • Phenotypic quality
  • Selection hypothesis