Sitka Nature Show #285 – Jim Baichtal

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The March 26th show featured a conversation with Jim Baichtal. We also spoke about about black-tailed deer in Southeast Alaska, and some what is known about their life patterns. Jim has also been working with the Mule Deer Foundation to help start local chapters in Alaska and work towards securing partnerships and funding in support of restoration habitat in Southeast Alaska. There will be an event at the Elks Lodge on April 23rd.

Sitka Black-tailed Coalition
Mule Deer Foundation

Listing (with links to PDFs) of scientific research papers about Sitka Black-tailed Deer

Abstract of presentation to be given by Flavio Augusto da Silva Coelho of University at Buffalo at upcoming 13th International Mammalogy conference in Anchorage):

The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) has a complex history in North America. The two distinct black-tailed deer (BTD) subspecies, Sitka and Columbian BTD, are hypothesized to have survived in Ice Age refugia along the Pacific Northwest Coast, followed by migration and hybridization. Hence, they provide an exemplary system to explore patterns of postglacial population dynamics.

We analyzed genome-scale data from samples spanning the last 13 thousand years ago (ka) to unveil the evolutionary history of Sitka BTD in Southeast Alaska (SEAK). Two separate maternal lineages inhabited SEAK, the first comprising samples older than 8.5 ka with a mule deer haplotype, and the second, younger than 7 ka, with a Sitka BTD haplotype, suggesting a Holocene lineage turnover in SEAK that was possibly associated with a known cooling event around 8.2 ka and higher sea levels.

Estimated by molecular clock calculations, the distinct modern Sitka BTD maternal lineage appeared by 10 ka. Nuclear genome data place ancient SEAK samples in a gradient between the two BTD subspecies, with the younger group closer related to modern Sitka BTD than the older one. Clustering analyses suggest the older group has a shared ancestry between Sitka BTD and mule deer, while the younger one belongs to the same group as modern Sitka BTD. Further analyses are exploring whether BTD may have survived in a single coastal Ice Age refugium.

If you have questions or observations you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment here or on the page I’ve set up for that purpose.

1 thought on “Sitka Nature Show #285 – Jim Baichtal”

  1. Excellent radio program. Your guest Jim is fascinating. Thanks for the program. The April 23rd event at the Elks Lodge should be worth attending.

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