Nav: Home

Breeding trouble: Meta-analysis identifies fishy issues with captive stocks

March 13, 2018

A group of researchers based at the University of Sydney has uncovered patterns that may be jeopardising the long-term success of worldwide animal breeding programs, which increasingly act as an insurance against extinction in conservation, and for food security.

The meta-analysis, led by the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science, found captive-born animals had, on average, almost half the odds of reproductive success compared to their wild-born counterparts in captivity.

In aquaculture, the effects were particularly pronounced, although research and conservation programs showed the same trend.

The study analysed more than 100 results, from 39 animal studies of 44 diverse species including shrimp, fish, mice, ducks, lemurs and Tasmanian devils.

The paper, "A meta-analysis of birth-origin effects on reproduction in diverse captive environments", is published today in Nature Communications.

Dr Catherine Grueber, who supervised the study, said the team was surprised at how universal the patterns were.

"More than 2,000 threatened species rely on successful reproduction through captive breeding programs for conservation alone," said Dr Grueber, from the University of Sydney's School of Life and Environmental Sciences and San Diego Zoo Global.

"In order to maintain our food supply, it's crucial we improve captive breeding; for example, the aquaculture industry is looking at introducing new species for commercialisation."

Lead author, PhD student Ms Kate Farquharson, said the results provide opportunities for improving the long-term success of animal breeding programs.

"Our dataset included measurements of lots of different reproductive traits - such as fertility, number of offspring, and timing of reproduction - but found that certain traits, such as offspring weight and mothering ability, seem to be the most strongly affected," Ms Farquharson said.

"This provides an opportunity for animal breeding programs, by identifying the areas where improvement could boost sustainability."

Research manager at the University of Sydney's Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group, co-author Dr Carolyn Hogg, said the research could be extended by undertaking multi-generational studies.

"Identifying limitations as well as opportunities in captive breeding programs across all industries is an urgent priority," Dr Hogg said.
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS
  • The study covered animal breeding programs in aquaculture, conservation and research. It included invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals.
  • Across the animal kingdom, captive-born animals were found to average 42 percent decreased odds of reproductive success, compared to those that are wild-born.
  • Considerable research has explored differences between captive and wild populations; less attention has been given to finding patterns across species.
  • In conservation, captive breeding has been recommended by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessors for 2199 species to reduce the threat of extinction.


University of Sydney

Related Conservation Articles:

Targeted conservation could protect more of Earth's biodiversity
A new study finds that major gains in global biodiversity can be achieved if an additional 5 percent of land is set aside to protect key species.
Conservation endocrinology in a changing world
The BioScience Talks podcast (http://bioscience.libsyn.com) features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Marine conservation must consider human rights
Ocean conservation is essential for protecting the marine environment and safeguarding the resources that people rely on for livelihoods and food security.
Mapping Biodiversity and Conservation Hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Mapping biodiversity and conservation hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation.
Internet data could boost conservation
Businesses routinely use internet data to learn about customers and increase profits -- and similar techniques could be used to boost conservation.
Why conservation fails
The only way for northern countries to halt deforestation in the South is to make sure land owners are paid more than it costs them to conserve the forest.
Visitors to countryside not attracted by conservation importance
Countryside visitors choose where to go based on the presence of features such as coastline, woodland or abundant footpaths, rather than a site's importance to conservation, according to new research.
In communicating wildlife conservation, focus on the right message
If you want people to care about endangered species, focus on how many animals are left, not on the chances of a species becoming extinct, according to a new study by Cornell University communication scholars.
New partnership to boost Asia-Pacific conservation
The University of Adelaide and global organization Conservation International (CI) today announced a strategic partnership that will help boost conservation efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, including a global conservation drone program.

Related Conservation Reading:

Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things
by M. R. O'Connor (Author)

An Introduction to Conservation Biology
by Richard B. Primack (Author), Anna Sher (Author)

Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management
by Anthony R. E. Sinclair (Author), John M. Fryxell (Author), Graeme Caughley (Author)

The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water
by Gary E. Machlis (Author), Jonathan B. Jarvis (Author), Terry Tempest Williams (Foreword)

The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection
by Dorceta E. Taylor (Author)

Saving Wild: Inspiration From 50 Leading Conservationists
by Lori Robinson (Author), Jane Goodall (Foreword)

Conservation: Linking Ecology, Economics, and Culture
by Monique Borgerhoff Mulder (Author), Peter Coppolillo (Author)

Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation on Planet Earth
by Jane Alexander (Author)

2015 International Energy Conservation Code
by International Code Council (Author)

The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (Convening Science: Discovery at the Marine Biological Laboratory)
by Ben A. Minteer (Editor), Jane Maienschein (Editor), James P. Collins (Editor), George Rabb (Editor)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Circular
We're told if the economy is growing, and if we keep producing, that's a good thing. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers explore circular systems that regenerate and re-use what we already have. Guests include economist Kate Raworth, environmental activist Tristram Stuart, landscape architect Kate Orff, entrepreneur David Katz, and graphic designer Jessi Arrington.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#504 The Art of Logic
How can mathematics help us have better arguments? This week we spend the hour with "The Art of Logic in an Illogical World" author, mathematician Eugenia Cheng, as she makes her case that the logic of mathematics can combine with emotional resonance to allow us to have better debates and arguments. Along the way we learn a lot about rigorous logic using arguments you're probably having every day, while also learning a lot about our own underlying beliefs and assumptions.