Range-Wide Genetics of the Stephens' Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys stephensi)

Type: report

Article abstract: The Stephens’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi; SKR) currently exists only in fragmented populations separated by urban landscapes. The species is listed as threatened by the state of California and endangered by the USFWS. The draft recovery plan for the species (1997) calls for conservation, funding and management within an established reserve system in Riverside and San Diego Counties. Species management plans are in place within some reserves and a translocation program is being established for the species to develop methods to reduce Take due to development (Shier 2009, 2010, 2011, Shier and Swaisgood 2012). Translocation may mitigate habitat fragmentation and restore historical gene flow by relocating animals between reserves or from areas slated for development projects onto reserves. It is not clear whether translocation is required to manage the species range-wide because, to date, the species landscape genetics and phylogeography are not well understood. To develop a successful range-wide long term management plan for the species that conserves extant genetic variation, it is critical to understand the genetic structure, dispersal characteristics and population histories of the fragmented populations in an evolutionary context.

Number of pages: 33

Authors: Shier, Debra M.; Navarro, Asako;

Year: 2016

Publisher: San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research

Prepared for: California Department of Fish & Wildlife;

Prepared by: San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research;

Keywords: genetic population structure; genetic sampling; management;

Species: Stephens' kangaroo rat

Threats: Loss of connectivity