Genetic Characteristics of Red Foxes in Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington
Gregory A. Green, Wildlife Ecologist
The Rocky Mountain Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes macroura), once common in the Blue Mountain ecoregion of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington, was considered rare in in this region by the 1930s and thought to be extirpated by the 1960s, when putatively new Red Fox populations began to appear. Although the new foxes were long presumed to be nonnative (originating from fur-farms), they were often phenotypically similar to native Red Foxes, suggesting the alternative possibility that they arose from range expansions, either by small numbers of remnant native foxes at higher elevations or by Rocky Mountain Red Foxes to the east. In this study, we used both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to investigate the origins of extant Red Fox populations in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. Our findings indicate that both native and nonnative sources contributed to the Red Fox populations currently occupying this region. In particular, Red Foxes in montane habitats of their former range in northeastern Oregon reflect predominantly native ancestry, whereas those in more lowland habitats outside the boundaries of their former range represent a mix of native and nonnative ancestry.
Greg has 40 years of experience conducting wildlife population and habitat projects in the western U.S. and Alaska. His responsibilities have been distributed over a wide variety of terrestrial projects, with emphasis on threatened and endangered species, marine mammals, arctic ecology, forest and shrub-steppe ecology, climate change, and natural resource management. Based upon his research projects, Greg has also published over 30 papers in scientific journals, plus five book chapters (marine mammals, shrub-steppe ecology, and burrowing owls). As an associate editor with three different scientific journals, Greg has managed over 200 manuscripts submitted for publication. He is also past-President for both the Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology. Greg is currently teaching “Natural History of the Pacific Northwest” at Huxley.
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