Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Conservation

We have just published our paper on the conservation genetics of the salt marsh harvest mouse (Statham et al. 2016 Conservation genetics of the endangered San Francisco Bay endemic salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris). Conservation genetics; DOI 10.1007/s10592-016-0843-4).

In collaboration with state and federal agency partners we investigated a number of outstanding questions important to the conservation of the species. Despite finding harvest mice of ambiguous morphology and species, we found deep, ancient separation between the salt marsh harvest mouse and western harvest mouse, with no evidence of recent hybridization. We identified deep subdivision within the salt marsh harvest mouse, splitting mice in the south San Francisco bay from those in the two northern bay, consistent with recognized subspecies. We identified substantially lower diversity and effective population size in the range of the southern subspecies. This subspecies has also suffered the greatest from habitat loss and population fragmentation. Additionally, comparing our genetic species identification with the morphological species identification, we found that the ID rate in the southern San Francisco Bay, was just above 50%, which has ramifications for ongoing mouse monitoring and conservation work in the area.


This project was funded by California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.