Eradication and population reductions are often used to mitigate the negative impacts of non-native invasive species on native biodiversity. However, monitoring the effectiveness of non-native species control programmes is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of these measures. Genetic monitoring could provide valuable insights into temporal changes in demographic, ecological, and evolutionary processes in invasive populations being subject to control programmes. Such programmes should cause a decrease in effective population size and/or in genetic diversity of the targeted non-native species and an increase in population genetic structuring over time. We used microsatellite DNA data from American mink (Neovison vison) to determine whether the removal of this predator on the Koster Islands archipelago and the nearby Swedish mainland affected genetic variation over six consecutive years of mink culling by trappers as part of a population control programme. We found that on Koster Islands allelic richness decreased (from on average 4.53 to 3.55), genetic structuring increased, and effective population size did not change. In contrast, the mink population from the Swedish coast showed no changes in genetic diversity or structure, suggesting the stability of this population over 6 years of culling. Effective population size did not change over time but was higher on the coast than on the islands across all years. Migration rates from the islands to the coast were almost two times higher than from the coast to the islands. Most migrants leaving the coast were localised on the southern edge of the archipelago, as expected from the direction of the sea current between the two sites. Genetic monitoring provided valuable information on temporal changes in the population of American mink suggesting that this approach can be used to evaluate and improve control programmes of invasive vertebrates.
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