Heather Hemmingmoore

Nationality: USA
Partner institution: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Start and end date of PhD: September 2016 – September 2020
e-mail: heather.hemmingmoore@slu.se
Supervisors: Jens Persson, Henrik Andren, Mikael Åkesson, Malin Aronsson, and Göran Spong

PhD title: Projecting the Recolonization of the Eurasian Lynx in Southern Sweden

Description of PhD project:
The Scandinavian lynx (lynx lynx) population in Sweden has recovered from as few as 30 individuals in the early 20th century to more than a thousand today. Despite this apparent success, lynx are recolonizing areas that are part of their historic distribution more slowly than expected. This project aims to assess the factors preventing this recolonization using habitat selection models and genetic methods, as follows:

  • Assess the suitability of habitat for lynx in southern Sweden and identify appropriate colonization areas using resource selection functions (RSFs), and validate these assessments with existing data from radio-marked lynx.
  • Identify sources and dispersal paths from central Sweden to southern Sweden using DNA marker based estimates of relatedness from central and southern Sweden, and combine these findings with RSF model results to identify dispersal corridors and barriers.
  • Comparatively evaluate the genetic structure and genetic variation of lynx in different parts of Northern Europe, to identify connectivity between populations.