Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.1 MB)

Title: Introgression and dispersal among spotted owl (Strix occidentatlis) subspecies.

Author: Funk, W.Chris; Forsman, Eric D.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M.;

Date: 2008

Source: Evolutionary Applications. 1: 161-171

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Population genetics plays an increasingly important role in the conservation and management of declining species, particularly for defining taxonomic units. Subspecies are recognized by several conservation organizations and countries and receive legal protection under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Two subspecies of spotted owls, northern (Strix occidentalis caurina) and Mexican (S. o. lucida) spotted owls, are ESA-listed as threatened, but the California (S. o. occidentalis) spotted owl is not listed. Thus, determining the boundaries of these subspecies is critical for effective enforcement of the ESA. We tested the validity of previously recognized spotted owl subspecies by analysing 394 spotted owls at 10 microsatellite loci. We also tested whether northern and California spotted owls hybridize as suggested by previous mitochondrial DNA studies. Our results supported current recognition of three subspecies. We also found bi-directional hybridization and dispersal between northern and California spotted owls centered in southern Oregon and northern California. Surprisingly, we also detected introgression of Mexican spotted owls into the range of northern spotted owls, primarily in the northern part of the subspecies' range in Washington, indicating long-distance dispersal of Mexican spotted owls. We conclude with a discussion of the conservation implications of our study.

Keywords: conservation, introgression, long-distance dispersal, microsatellites, spotted owl, Strix occidentalis, subspecies, US Endangered Species Act

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Funk, W.Chris; Forsman, Eric D.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M. 2008. Introgression and dispersal among spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) subspecies. Evolutionary Applications. 1: 161-171.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.