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Patchy population structure in a short-distance migrant: evidence from genetic and demographic data


Mayer, C; Schiegg, K; Pasinelli, G (2009). Patchy population structure in a short-distance migrant: evidence from genetic and demographic data. Molecular Ecology, 18(12):2353-2364.

Abstract

Species often occur in subdivided populations as a consequence of spatial heterogeneity of the habitat. To describe the spatial organization of ubpopulations, existing theory proposes three main population models: patchy population, metapopulation and isolated populations. These models differ in their predicted levels of connectivity among subpopulations, and in the risk that a subpopulation will go extinct. However, spatially discrete subpopulations are commonly considered to be organized as metapopulations, even though explicit tests of metapopulation assumptions are rare. Here, we test predictions of the three models on the basis
of demographic and genetic data, a combined approach so far surprisingly little used in mobile
organisms. From 2002 to 2005, we studied nine subpopulations of the wetland-restricted reed
bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) in the southeastern part of the Canton Zurich (Switzerland), from which local declines of this species have been reported. Here, wetlands are as small as 2.7 ha and separated through intensively used agricultural landscapes. Demographic data consisted of dispersal of colour-banded individuals among subpopulations, immigration rates and extinction-/recolonization dynamics. Genetic data were based on the distribution of genetic variability and gene flow among subpopulations derived from the analysis of nine microsatellite loci. Both demographic and genetic data revealed that the patchy population model best described the spatial organization of reed bunting subpopulations. High levels of dispersal
among subpopulations, high immigration into the patchy population, and genetic admixture suggested little risk of extinction of both subpopulations and the entire patchy population. This study exemplifies the idea that spatially discrete subpopulations may be
organized in ways other than a metapopulation, and hence has implications for the conservation
of subpopulations and species.

Abstract

Species often occur in subdivided populations as a consequence of spatial heterogeneity of the habitat. To describe the spatial organization of ubpopulations, existing theory proposes three main population models: patchy population, metapopulation and isolated populations. These models differ in their predicted levels of connectivity among subpopulations, and in the risk that a subpopulation will go extinct. However, spatially discrete subpopulations are commonly considered to be organized as metapopulations, even though explicit tests of metapopulation assumptions are rare. Here, we test predictions of the three models on the basis
of demographic and genetic data, a combined approach so far surprisingly little used in mobile
organisms. From 2002 to 2005, we studied nine subpopulations of the wetland-restricted reed
bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) in the southeastern part of the Canton Zurich (Switzerland), from which local declines of this species have been reported. Here, wetlands are as small as 2.7 ha and separated through intensively used agricultural landscapes. Demographic data consisted of dispersal of colour-banded individuals among subpopulations, immigration rates and extinction-/recolonization dynamics. Genetic data were based on the distribution of genetic variability and gene flow among subpopulations derived from the analysis of nine microsatellite loci. Both demographic and genetic data revealed that the patchy population model best described the spatial organization of reed bunting subpopulations. High levels of dispersal
among subpopulations, high immigration into the patchy population, and genetic admixture suggested little risk of extinction of both subpopulations and the entire patchy population. This study exemplifies the idea that spatially discrete subpopulations may be
organized in ways other than a metapopulation, and hence has implications for the conservation
of subpopulations and species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:dispersal, fragmentation, gene flow, patchy population, reed bunting, spatial population structure
Language:English
Date:June 2009
Deposited On:08 Jun 2009 06:26
Last Modified:06 Dec 2017 19:47
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0962-1083
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04200.x
Official URL:http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/117989598/home

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