Population genetics of the invasive red fox, Vulpes vulpes, in south-eastern Australia.
The use of genetic information in conservation biology has become more widespread with genetic information more readily available for non-model organisms. It has also been recognized that genetic information from invasive species can inform their management and control. The red fox poses a significant threat to Australian native fauna and the agricultural industry. Despite this, there are few recently published studies investigating the population genetics of foxes in Australia. This study investigated the population genetics of 94 foxes across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions of New South Wales, Australia. Diversity Array sequencing technology was used to genotype a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (N = 33,375). Moderate genetic diversity and relatedness were observed across the foxes sampled. Low to moderate levels of inbreeding, high-levels of identity-by-state values, as well as high identity-by-descent values were also found. There was limited evidence for population genetic structure among the foxes across the landscape sampled, supporting the presence of a single population across the study area. This indicates that there may be no barriers hindering fox dispersal across the landscape.