The effect of climatic forcing on population synchrony and genetic structuring of the Canadian lynx

Nils Chr Stenseth, Dorothee Ehrich, Eli Knispel Rueness, Ole Chr Lingjærde, Kung Sik Chan, Stan Boutin, Mark O'Donoghuell, David A. Robinson, Hildegunn Viljugrein, Kjetill S. Jakobsen

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40 Scopus citations


The abundance of Canadian lynx follows 10-year density fluctuations across the Canadian subcontinent. These cyclic fluctuations have earlier been shown to be geographically structured into three climatic regions: the Atlantic, Continental, and Pacific zones. Recent genetic evidence revealed an essentially similar spatial structuring. Introducing a new population model, the "climate forcing of ecological and evolutionary patterns" model, we link the observed ecological and evolutionary patterns. Specifically, we demonstrate that there is greater phase synchrony within climatic zones than between them and show that external climatic forcing may act as a synchronizer. We simulated genetic drift by using data on population dynamics generated by the climate forcing of ecological and evolutionary patterns model, and we demonstrate that the observed genetic structuring can be seen as an emerging property of the spatiotemporal ecological dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6056-6061
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 20 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Climatic forcing
  • Genetic diversification
  • Phase-dependent demography
  • Spatial phase synchrony


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