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Once again, Aaron...

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Posted by: dustyrhoads at Fri Jul 9 14:41:06 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by dustyrhoads ]  

>>Dusty what is your basis for saying the take in blonde subocs is unsustainable?

Dude, if you need help understanding how taking adult homozygous animals of a recessive mutation (and generally leaving more of the much more numerous normals and the normal-looking heterozygotes alone) from a very limited range can and usually does diminish the frequencies of that recessive gene, then I'd say you need to go out and read a couple of textbooks on evolution and conservation biology.

Look up that Richard King Nerodia sipedon study I posted on the other forum, and read about how the constant immigration from the more frequent dominant allele works against the effects of natural selection on the recessive allele.

Then after that, I would suggest reading about the effects of genetic drift on infrequent alleles in a population. While reading, pay attention to words like fixation and allele frequency.

And then look at data that show the chances of survival for babies vs. the chances of survival for established adults of a variety of herps for which there is data (yes, there is some).

Now, consider the limited range of the Blonde Suboc, more than probably 95% of them are found along basically a 20-mile stretch of road, and only at certain transects. Comparatively VERY few are found in the Christmases and West of the Big Hill.

Now consider how many of the Subocs you and others have seen along that stretch of road where they're most common, especially those who hunt that road looking for Subocs. Ask Michael Price how many Subocs he has seen on that stretch of road, and how many of them have been Blonde. I would guess he's seen well over 150, and only 3 have been Blondes, unless he's found more since I last talked to him.

Combine all of the aforementioned, and you come to the conclusion that the range of the morph is small (i.e. you don't find Blondes anywhere else), that the allele is infrequent, and that taking a single breeding-age adult from a population puts a considerable ding into the effects of genetic drift of an already infrequent allele. Though rare, natural selection is favoring the Blonde allele, and every single take of an adult kicks the effects of selection in the throat.

>>The range of the blondes is vast compared to the tiny narrow 100 foot wide by 3 or 4 miles long strip of road they are taken off of.

Vast? Ha, that's a stretch, Aaron. How do you know that? How many Blondes have been found off of the road?

>>Very few people even hunt that stretch of road, the vast majority of blone subocs have been found by people merely passing though the area while going to or from from Study Butte and the main hunting area which is a good 20 miles away from the area where the blondes are found. Since few, if any, hunters stay for more than one or two passes at a time in the area where the blondes are found, I would bet that well over 90% of the blondes crossing that road are never even seen.

Even if that were the case, consider again the number of Normals found in the Blonde's range vs. the number of Blondes found. You're ignoring the evidence that Blonde is a rare allele even in their range.

Most blondes in the immeadiate area adjacent to the road probably never even come out onto the road.

Why wouldn't they? Others are moving around and come out onto the road all the time. What would make blondes more road shy than all of the normals you see crossing?

Additionally there are likey thousands more blondes that are nowhere near "adjacent" to the road, living so far out in the desert that they will never even see a set of headlights go by in the distance, let alone venture onto the road themselves.

That's possible, but until someone finds a huge population of Blondes out there, there is zero evidence of that. Better to err on the side of the evidence we have available, which would caution us that a recessive allele such as Blonde is like most other recessive mutations in the wild -- rare. Even when favored.

Even if there was a huge pop. of Blondes elsewhere, that doesn't have anything to do with protecting the populations that live adjacent to the road. We certainly aren't finding Blondes across any other transects of road, however close or far.

>> What's sad is that some wildlife agents seem to share your unfounded beliefs.

What "unfounded beliefs" are those, Aaron? Science is not a belief system nor is it an ideology. It doesn't take faith to accept evidence from available data and similar repeatable concepts that involve other species which have been researched more.

Laws are being based on such hogwash and there is no data whatsoever to back them up.

Oh, so there was a law that was/is being passed that is based on the available evidence that Blonde is a rare allele, and that collecting Blonde adults is far less sustainable than collecting young? Well, if that's the case, then bravo. The government got something right for a change, and they should be applauded for listening to and basing their laws on that evidence.

Otherwise, I don't know what the heck you're talking about.

Once again, Aaron, you are welcome to write a paper on why collecting homozygous recessive adults from a small population and representing an infrequent allele is TOTALLY sustainable for preserving that allele, and you are welcome to try to present that paper at a scientific symposium comprising conservation biologists and evolutionary biologists. If your paper gets accepted (which it might not), then good luck with the crushing questions you are going to get after your presentation.



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