I studied the effect of habitat isolation on the rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) in southern Norway and Sweden, with special emphasis on genetic diversity, adult sex ratio and population structure.
I found that genetic diversity was negatively affected by isolation and habitat size, and that isolated populations had a male-biased sex ratio. Although the rock ptarmigan is able of flying long distances, they do not seem to cross large stretches of unsuitable habitat. I also found that the presence of ski resorts increased the effect of isolation for small mountain fragments.
My work show that habitat isolation has an adverse effect on the genetics and dynamics of the rock ptarmigan, and that isolated populations are more likely to be negatively affected by changes in their habitat than large contiguous populations.