The effective size of fluctuating populations

Theor Popul Biol. 2001 Jun;59(4):281-6. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.2001.1521.

Abstract

We consider a Wright-Fisher model whose population size is an autocorrelated stochastic process. Our interest is in the effects of autocorrelated fluctuations of the population size on the effective size. We define the inbreeding effective size and the variance effective size and show that these effective sizes are the same for this model. In the literature, it is said that the effective size is equal to the harmonic mean of population size when the size fluctuates. We will show, however, that the effective size is not the same as the harmonic mean of population size unless the fluctuations of population size are uncorrelated. The effective size is larger (resp. smaller) than the harmonic mean when the fluctuations of population size are positively (resp. negatively) autocorrelated. Further, we obtain some asymptotic expressions for effective size when the population size is very large and/or the autocorrelation of the fluctuation is very strong.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Population Density*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stochastic Processes