Biodiversity Management Under Limiting Conditions: Estimating Effective Population Size Using the Molecular Mark and Recapture (MMR) Method
Keywords:population size, biodiversity, methodology, population dynamics
Although many people have been paying attention to the decrease of biodiversity on earth in recent years, many local people, even staff of national parks, live under limiting conditions (such as a shortage of funds, specialists, literature, equipment for experiments and so on). To conserve biodiversity, it is important to be clear about which species decrease or increase. To find such information, it is quite important to know the dynamics of effective population size for each species. Although a large number of papers have been written about how to improve the precision of the estimated effective population size, little has been studied on how to estimate the dynamics of the effective population sizes for many species together under limiting situations, very similar to the management methods of national parks in countries which have biological hot spots. In this paper, we are not concerned with the improvement of the precision of the estimates. We do, however, propose a simple method for the estimation of the effective population size. We named it the “MMR method.” It is not difficult to understand and is easily applied to many species. To show the usefulness of the MMR method we made simple virtual species, which included the first generation and the second generation, on a computer, and then we conducted simulations to estimate the effective population size of the first generation. We calculated three statistics to estimate whether the MMR method is useful or not. The three statistics showed that the MMR method is useful.
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