Rangewide Connectivity and Landscape Genetic Assessment for Greater Sage-grouse
Greater Sage-grouse consist primarily of a few large core populations surrounded by numerous small populations. The viability of these small populations is sustained by dispersing individuals from neighboring populations. Development that causes habitat loss or creates barriers to dispersal between core areas restricts movements important to maintain genetic diversity, augment small populations, or recolonize extirpated populations. The goal of this study is to assess connectivity among core areas, and to identify features that may act as barriers to movement. In addition to defining populations and assessing connectivity, this study uses genetic approaches to address many other relevant questions including the conservation of genetic diversity, the impacts of inbreeding, and the association among landscape and geographic characteristics, habitats, and genetics. This research is in collaboration with USGS, USFS, and the University of Montana and is supported by Natural Resources Conservation Service, USFWS, and 11 US state fish and wildlife agencies.