Assessing the genetic structure of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) in Romania


  • Mihai Fedorca 1) National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania 2) Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania
  • Ovidiu Ionescu 1) National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania 2) Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania
  • Neculae Sofletea Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania
  • Ancuta Fedorca 1) National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania 2) Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania
  • Alexandru Lucian Curtu Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania
  • Georgeta Ionescu National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania



capercaillie, genetics, gene flow, fragmentation, habitat


Romania holds the most extensive mountain range with old-growth forests, in which both habitat surface and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) numbers are ones of the highest in Central and Eastern Europe. While previous genetic studies have found that the individuals located in different European mountain ranges are isolated and have highlighted that the species is declining. Here, we are aiming to assess the genetic structure of capercaillie in Romania by genotyping 137 samples collected in the field with 9 STR markers. Expected heterozygosity was 0.586, whereas observed heterozygosity values were 0.859. Population structure analyses indicated weak population differentiation and suggested that sufficient gene flow exists among individuals sampled in different mountain regions. We did not find evidence for a past genetic bottleneck. Our findings contain important information to wildlife managers to focus conservation efforts in areas such as Curvature Carpathians, which serve as a connectivity corridor to avoid eroding the extent or quality of habitat and to prevent further fragmentation.

Author Biographies

Mihai Fedorca, 1) National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania 2) Transilvania University of Brasov, B-dul Eroilor 29, Postal code 500036, Brasov, Romania

Wildlife Department

Georgeta Ionescu, National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Dracea”, SCDEP Brasov, Closca street 13, Postal code 500040, Brasov, Romania

Wildlife Department


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Research article