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Title: Genetic analyses of historic and modern marbled murrelets suggest decoupling of migration and gene flow after habitat fragmentation

Author: Peery, M. Zachariah; Hall, Laurie A.; Anna, Sellas.; Beissinger, Steven R.; Moritz, Craig; Berube, Martine; Raphael, Martin G.; Nelson, S. Kim; Golightly, Richard T.; McFarlane-Tranquilla, Laura; Newman, Scott H.; Palsboll, Per J.;

Date: 2009

Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277(1682): 697-706

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The dispersal of individuals among fragmented populations is generally thought to prevent genetic and demographic isolation, and ultimately reduce extinction risk. In this study, we show that a century of reduction in coastal old-growth forests, as well as a number of other environmental factors, has probably resulted in the genetic divergence of marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in central California, despite the fact that 7 per cent of modern-sampled murrelets in this population were classified as migrants using genetic assignment tests. Genetic differentiation appears to persist because individuals dispersing from northern populations contributed relatively few young to the central California population, as indicated by the fact that migrants were much less likely to be members of parent-offspring pairs than residents (10.5% versus 45.4%). Moreover, a recent 1.4 percent annual increase in the proportion of migrants in central California, without appreciable reproduction, may have masked an underlying decline in the resident population without resulting in demographic rescue. Our results emphasize the need to understand the behaviour of migrants and the extent to which they contribute offspring in order to determine whether dispersal results in gene flow and prevents declines in resident populations.

Keywords: dispersal, genetic variation, habitat fragmentation

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Peery, M. Zachariah; Hall, Laurie A.; Anna, Sellas.; Beissinger, Steven R.; Moritz, Craig; Berube, Martine; Raphael, Martin G.; Nelson, S. Kim; Golightly, Richard T.; McFarlane-Tranquilla, Laura; Newman, Scott H.; Palsboll, Per J. 2010. Genetic analyses of historic and modern marbled murrelets suggest decoupling of migration and gene flow after habitat fragmentation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277(1682): 697-706.

 


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