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.
  • 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 ( 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:

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

According to scientists, we are entering the sixth great mass extinction event. Full of inspiration and hope, this book is an antidote for anyone who suffers from ecological despair over the current state of our planets wildlife and wild places. Lori Robinson sought out fifty of the world’s leading conservationists, men and women who have devoted their lives to saving some of the most endangered species and the most threatened areas on earth. To each she posed the question: How do you stay inspired? This book is the result. Among the people Robinson interviewed are wildlife filmmakers... View Details

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

**A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 **
**A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book of September**

In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O'Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations,... View Details

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

This is a turbulent time for the conservation of America’s natural and cultural heritage. From the current assaults on environmental protection to the threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and disparity of environmental justice, the challenges facing the conservation movement are both immediate and long term. In this time of uncertainty, we need a clear and compelling guide for the future of conservation in America, a declaration to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. This is that guide—what the authors describe as “a chart for rough water.”

... View Details

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

In this sweeping social history Dorceta E. Taylor examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies. Initially led by white urban elites—whose early efforts discriminated against the lower class and were often tied up with slavery and the... View Details

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

New coauthor Anna Sher joins longtime author Richard Primack in creating a book that combines the readability of Primack's A Primer of Conservation Biology with the depth and coverage of his larger textbook, Essentials of Conservation Biology. The result is a book well suited for a wide range of undergraduate courses, as both a primary text for conservation biology courses and a supplement for ecological and environmental science courses.

Using the chapter framework of the current Primer as a springboard, the authors have added three chapters focused on... View Details

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

Nearly 90 percent of the earth's land surface is directly affected by human infrastructure and activities, yet less than 5 percent is legally "protected" for biodiversity conservation--and even most large protected areas have people living inside their boundaries. In all but a small fraction of the earth's land area, then, conservation and people must coexist. Conservation is a resource for all those who aim to reconcile biodiversity with human livelihoods. It traces the historical roots of modern conservation thought and practice, and explores current perspectives from evolutionary... View Details

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

For the most current information on energy conservation code requirements, refer to the 2015 INTERNATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION CODE. This highly beneficial resource fosters energy conservation through efficiency in envelope design, mechanical systems, lighting systems, and through the use of new materials and techniques. In the residential provisions, the inclusion of the Energy Rating Index Compliance Alternative as another compliance path adds more flexibility to the 2015 IECC. With this comprehensive and cutting edge coverage, it is a critical component of a user's code books. View Details

2018 International Energy Conservation Code
by International Code Council (Author)

The IECC addresses energy efficiency on several fronts including cost savings, reduced energy usage, conservation of natural resources and the impact of energy usage on the environment. Key changes include: Log homes designed in accordance with the standard ICC 400, Standards on the Design and Construction of Log Structures, are exempt from the building thermal envelope requirements of the IECC. The maximum allowable fenestration U-factors in Table R402.1.2 (for the prescriptive compliance path) for climates zones 3 through 8 have been reduced from the values in the 2015 edition. The... View Details

Conservation: Fresh Water Resources Gr. 5-8 (Climate Change) - Classroom Complete Press
by George Graybill (Author)

Students learn the importance of fresh water and how to conserve this valuable resource. Our resource focuses your attention on protecting and respecting our fresh water. Start by understanding what fresh water is by building a water cycle. Find out how fresh water compares in the bigger picture of Earth's water. Build a greenhouse to see firsthand how climate change can affect fresh water. Take what you know about where to find fresh water, and see how that could all change with climate change. Describe how the water supply in a village could become unfit for drinking in a scenario.... View Details

Conservation Is Our Government Now: The Politics of Ecology in Papua New Guinea (New Ecologies for the Twenty-First Century)
by Paige West (Author)

A significant contribution to political ecology, Conservation Is Our Government Now is an ethnographic examination of the history and social effects of conservation and development efforts in Papua New Guinea. Drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted over a period of seven years, Paige West focuses on the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area, the site of a biodiversity conservation project implemented between 1994 and 1999. She describes the interactions between those who ran the program—mostly ngo workers—and the Gimi people who live in the forests surrounding Crater Mountain.... View Details

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

The Consequences Of Racism
What does it mean to be judged before you walk through the door? What are the consequences? This week, TED speakers delve into the ways racism impacts our lives, from education, to health, to safety. Guests include poet and writer Clint Smith, writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez, educator Dena Simmons, and former prosecutor Adam Foss.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#465 How The Nose Knows
We've all got a nose but how does it work? Why do we like some smells and not others, and why can we all agree that some smells are good and some smells are bad, while others are dependant on personal or cultural preferences? We speak with Asifa Majid, Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at Radboud University, about the intersection of culture, language, and smell. And we level up on our olfactory neuroscience with University of Pennsylvania Professor Jay Gottfried.