Genetic structure analysis of North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) in the United States.

By Nikolai Kolba and Larry Laubach

As with any reintroduction program, the overall genetic diversity of the population is a concern in maintaining the long-term viability of that population.

Currently the population genetic parameters of PA river otters indicate a diverse population.

Observed heterozygosity is within an acceptable range of what would be expected.

Three population structure groups have been identified in the state and appear to coincide with 3 geographic regions: northeast, north central, and south central.

The southeast population is comprised of relatively equal proportions of each of those groups.

Only ten years have passed from the completion of the PRORP, therefore, this study provides good baseline data for both management and future study.

It will be important to continue to sample the river otter population to see how the population structure changes given more generations.

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