Landscape ecology and genetics of the wolf in Italy

Milanesi, Pietro (2014) Landscape ecology and genetics of the wolf in Italy, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6289.
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This PhD Thesis includes five main parts on diverse topics. The first two parts deal with the trophic ecology of wolves in Italy consequently to a recent increase of wild ungulates abundance. Data on wolf diet across time highlighted how wild ungulates are important food resource for wolves in Italy. Increasing wolf population, increasing numbers of wild ungulates and decreasing livestock consume are mitigating wolf-man conflicts in Italy in the near future. In the third part, non-invasive genetic sampling techniques were used to obtain genotypes and genders of about 400 wolves. Thus, wolf packs were genetically reconstructed using diverse population genetic and parentage software. Combining the results on pack structure and genetic relatedness with sampling locations, home ranges of wolf packs and dispersal patterns were identified. These results, particularly important for the conservation management of wolves in Italy, illustrated detailed information that can be retrieved from genetic identification of individuals. In the fourth part, wolf locations were combined with environmental information obtained as GIS-layers. Modern species distribution models (niche models) were applied to infer potential wolf distribution and predation risk. From the resulting distribution maps, information pastures with the highest risk of depredation were derived. This is particularly relevant as it allows identifying those areas under danger of carnivore attack on livestock. Finally, in the fifth part, habitat suitability models were combined with landscape genetic analysis. On one side landscape genetic analyses on the Italian wolves provided new information on the dynamics and connectivity of the population and, on the other side, a profound analysis of the effects that habitat suitability methods had on the parameterization of landscape genetic analyses was carried out to contributed significantly to landscape genetic theory.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Milanesi, Pietro
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Canis lupus, landscape genetics, molecular ecology, population genetics, trophic ecology
Data di discussione
8 Maggio 2014

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