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Gene flow and effective population sizes of the Alcon blue butterfly Maculinea alcon in a highly fragmented, anthropogenic landscape: Flash presentation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper/Powerpoint/Abstract


  • Andreas Kelager
  • Irma Wynhoff
  • Michiel F. Wallis de Vries
  • David R. Nash
  • Gerard Oostermeijer
  • H Van Dyck

External Organisations

  • University of Kopenhagen, Departement of Public Engagement, Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • Vlinderstichting
  • Wageningen University, Laboratory of Entomology
  • University of Kopenhagen, Centre for Social Evolution, Department of Biology
  • UCL-ELI, Université catholique de Louvain, Earth and Live Institute
  • Instituut voor Biodiversiteit en Ecosysteem Dynamica (IBED), Universiteit van Amsterdam,


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventFAME - EVENET: Joint symposium on Eco-Evolutionary dynamics and Flanders Annual Meeting of Ecology - Ghent University, campus Ledeganck, Gent, Belgium
Duration: 20-Dec-201621-Jan-2017


ConferenceFAME - EVENET
Abbreviated titleFAME - EVENET
Internet address


Understanding connectivity among populations in fragmented landscapes is of paramount importance in species conservation because it determines their long-term viability and helps to identify and prioritize populations to conserve. Rare and sedentary species are particularly vulnerable to habitat fragmentation as they occupy narrow niches or restricted habitat ranges. Here, we assess contemporary inter-population connectedness of the threatened, myrmecophilous butterfly, Maculinea alcon, in a highly fragmented landscape . We inferred dispersal, effective population sizes, genetic diversity and structure based on 14 locations of M. alcon in Belgium and the Netherlands using data from 12 microsatellite loci. Despite the reported sedentary behaviour of M. alcon, we observed moderate levels of contemporary dispersal between patches, but only in landscapes where populations were located within a distance of 3 km from neighbouring populations. Estimates for effective population sizes (Ne) were very low (ranging from 1.6 to 17.6) and bottleneck events occurred in most of the studied populations. We revise the functional conservation units delineated based on a former mark-release-recapture study, and formulate appropriate conservation strategies to maintain viable (meta)populations in highly fragmented, anthropogenic landscapes.

EWI Biomedical sciences

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