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Extra-pair fertilization and effective population size in the song sparrow Melospiza melodia


O'Connor, K D; Marr, A B; Arcese, P; Keller, L F; Jeffery, K J; Bruford, M W (2006). Extra-pair fertilization and effective population size in the song sparrow Melospiza melodia. Journal of Avian Biology, 37(9):572-578.

Abstract

The concept of effective population size (N-e) is used widely by conservation and evolutionary biologists as an indicator of the genetic state of populations, but its precision and relation to the census population size is often uncertain. Extra-pair fertilizations have the potential to bias estimates of N-e when they affect the number of breeders or their estimated reproductive success tallied from social pedigrees. We tested if the occurrence of extra-pair fertilizations influenced estimates of N-e in a resident population of song sparrows Melospiza melodia using four years of detailed behavioural and genetic data. Estimates of N-e based on social and genetic data were nearly identical and averaged c. 65% of the census population size over four years, despite that 28% of 471 independent young were sired outside of social pairs. Variance in male reproductive success also did not differ between estimates based on social and genetic data, indicating that extra-pair mating had little effect on the distribution of reproductive success in our study population. Our results show that the genetic assignment will not always be necessary to estimate N-e precisely.

The concept of effective population size (N-e) is used widely by conservation and evolutionary biologists as an indicator of the genetic state of populations, but its precision and relation to the census population size is often uncertain. Extra-pair fertilizations have the potential to bias estimates of N-e when they affect the number of breeders or their estimated reproductive success tallied from social pedigrees. We tested if the occurrence of extra-pair fertilizations influenced estimates of N-e in a resident population of song sparrows Melospiza melodia using four years of detailed behavioural and genetic data. Estimates of N-e based on social and genetic data were nearly identical and averaged c. 65% of the census population size over four years, despite that 28% of 471 independent young were sired outside of social pairs. Variance in male reproductive success also did not differ between estimates based on social and genetic data, indicating that extra-pair mating had little effect on the distribution of reproductive success in our study population. Our results show that the genetic assignment will not always be necessary to estimate N-e precisely.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:27 Mar 2009 13:03
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:25
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0908-8857
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.2006.0908-8857.03681.x
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3102

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