News Round-Up

Researchers find Wyoming pronghorn exhibit little genetic variation despite landscape obstacles


A University of Wyoming researcher led a study that showed Wyoming pronghorn exhibit little-to-no population genetic differentiation even though their range spans hundreds of kilometres, multiple mountain ranges and three major interstate highways.

While there are previously documented studies that show landscape features such as major highways restrict the daily and seasonal movements of pronghorn and increase mortality risk, Melanie LaCava says her research group found little, if any, evidence that these barriers affect genetic connectivity among Wyoming pronghorn.

“While there is ample evidence from previous research that pronghorn behaviour is severely impacted by highways, roads, fencing and other forms of human development, there also is evidence that pronghorn exhibit flexible social and migratory behaviour,” says LaCava, a UW Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Ecology, from San Diego, Calif. MORE