PhD defence: Odbayar Tumendemberel

Odbayar Tumendemberel from USN’s PhD program in Ecology will defend her thesis for the degree of PhD: Evolutionary history, demographics, and conservation of brown bears (Ursus arctos): filling the knowledge gap in Central Asia


10 Nov

Praktisk informasjon

  • Dato: 10. november 2020
  • Tid: kl. 17.00 - 20.00
  • Sted: Webinar
  • Last ned kalenderfil

  • Both the trial lecture and the defence will be held on Zoom due to the coronavirus situation.

    Follow the dissertation live.
    (Link will be activated when the program starts.)

    Program

    Kl. 17.00: Trial lecture: "Estimating census and effective population size in wildlife populations - state of the art, relationship between both parameters, and implications for conservation."

    Kl. 18.15: Public defence: Odbayar Tumendemberel defends her PhD thesis "Evolutionary history, demographics, and conservation of brown bears (Ursus arctos): filling the knowledge gap in Central Asia"
     

    Evaluation committee:

    • Frank T van Manen, PhD, U.S. Geological Survey 
    • Tomaz Skrbinsek, Associate Professor, University of Ljubljana
    • Åshild Kristine Andreassen, Professor, USN (coordinator of the committee)

     

    Leader of the defence:

    • Andrew Jenkins, Professor, Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, USN


    Main supervisor:

    • Andreas Zedrosser, Professor, Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, USN


    Co-supervisors:

    • Frank Rosell, Professor, Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, USN
    • Mona Sæbø, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health, USN
    • Michael Proctor, PhD, Birchdale Ecological
    • John Swenson, Professor Emeritus, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
    • Lisette Waits, Professor, University of Idaho

     

    Read the PhD thesis here.

About the thesis:

Odbayar TumendemberelThe aim of the PhD project was to answer two main questions 1) population demographics of critically endangered Gobi bears, 2) evolutionary history of brown bears in Central Asia. Between 1996-2018, we collected 2660 non-invasive genetic samples from brown bears in the Gobi Desert allowing us to identify and genetically monitor 65 unique individuals over 20 years. Based on mark-recapture analyses, annual population size was only 23-31 individuals. Additionally, Gobi bear population has a highly skewed sex ratio (3M:1F) and high degree of inbreeding. This suggests that Gobi bears are one of the most critically endangered population in the world. For the evolutionary questions, we collected genetic samples from 119 brown bears across 8 poorly studied geographic locations in Central Asia and used traditional markers (i.e. mitochondrial DNA and nDNA microsatellites) and whole genome data. We also included Genbank data from brown bears in Europe and North America to understand the wide-range evolutionary history. We found 6-8 divergent brown bear lineages in Northern Asia, Europe (2 potential subclades), Gobi, Himalaya, Ancestral lineage in North Asia, North America (2 potential subclades). These results suggest that bears in Himalaya and Gobi are different evolutionary significant units and 2 subspecies including Ursus arctos gobiensis and Ursus arctos isabellinus. These demographics and genetic results highlight the critical status and uniqueness of Gobi bears and answered fundamental question necessary for effective conservation.