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Genetic analyses of historic and modern marbled murrelets suggest decoupling of migration and gene flow after habitat fragmentation.
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2010 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 277, no 1682, 697-706 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 per cent 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.

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2010. Vol. 277, no 1682, 697-706 p.
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Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32387DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1666ISI: 000273882800006PubMedID: 19906669OAI: diva2:280402
authorCount :12Available from: 2009-12-09 Created: 2009-12-09 Last updated: 2010-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Bérubé, MartinePalsbøll, Per J
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Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology
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