Genetisk analys av utterpopulationen (Lutra lutra) i Biosfärområde Kristianstads Vattenrike

Translated title of the thesis: Genetic analysis of the otter population (Lutra lutra) in Kristianstad’s Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve, Sweden
  • Sanne Bergman

    Student thesis: Bachelor


    During the past century the Swedish otter (Lutra lutra) population showed a rapid decline in abundance and genetic diversity. Among the most affected areas was the southern province of Skåne. After prohibiting hunting of otters and banning harmful pollutants like PCB, Swedish populations slowly recovered. To some areas the otter returned late, like Kristianstad in north-eastern Skåne. Here, the River Helge å enters Kristianstad’s Vattenrike, Biosphere Reserve and forms a biodiverse wetland. By 2011, otters had established once more along the river. In recent years, a female otter with cubs have appeared outside Vattenriket visitor’s centre “naturum”, to the joy of inhabitants and visitors. In Kristianstad, otters have become a recurring winter attraction. However, not much is known about this new population. For assessment of abundance and genetic diversity, microsatellite variation was investigated among now-living individuals from eleven sites in the Biosphere reserve, and stored museum samples from ten otters with origins in North-eastern Skåne. Using a non-invasive methodology, investigated DNA was extracted from faeces and muscle tissue from dead individuals. Multiple replicate screening was performed to detect errors in genotyping procedures. Results show the presence of three now-living individuals (two males and one female). Now-living otters and museum specimens from north-eastern Skåne were not closely related. Sampled individuals show Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, but their heterozygosity is very low. Results suggest that, even though some individuals may remain undetected, low admixture of new genes may be a cause for concern. For long-term protection and management in Kristianstad’s Vattenrike, Biosphere Reserve, further knowledge is needed about our new and precious otter population.

    Date of Award2018-Jan-05
    Original languageSwedish
    SupervisorPär Söderquist (Supervisor) & Jönsson Ingemar (Examiner)

    Educational program

    • Biology programme

    University credits

    • 15 HE credits

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Ecology (10611)


    • conservation biology
    • dna
    • ecology
    • microsatellites
    • non-invasive capture-mark-recapture
    • population bottleneck
    • population monitoring
    • threatened species

    Cite this