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Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Apr 7;266(1420):657-63.

Estimating population size by genotyping faeces.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-1606, USA. michaelk@biology.ucla.edu

Abstract

Population size is a fundamental biological parameter that is difficult to estimate. By genotyping coyote (Canis latrans) faeces systematically collected in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles, California, we exemplify a general, non-invasive method to census large mammals. Four steps are involved in the estimation. First, presumed coyote faeces are collected along paths or roadways where coyotes, like most carnivores, often defaecate and mark territorial boundaries. Second, DNA is extracted from the faeces and species identity and sex is determined by mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome typing. Third, hypervariable microsatellite loci are typed from the faeces. Lastly, rarefaction analysis is used to estimate population size from faecal genotypes. This method readily provides a point count estimate of population size and sex ratio. Additionally, we show that home range use paternity and kinship can be inferred from the distribution and relatedness patterns of faecal genotypes.

PMID:
10331287
PMCID:
PMC1689828
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.1999.0686
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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