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What are the strengths and limitations of direct and indirect assessment of dispersal? Insights from a long-term field study in a group-living bird species


Griesser, Michael; Halvarsson, Peter; Sahlman, Tobias; Ekman, Jan (2014). What are the strengths and limitations of direct and indirect assessment of dispersal? Insights from a long-term field study in a group-living bird species. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68(3):485-497.

Abstract

Molecular methods of assessing dispersal have become increasingly powerful and have superseded direct methods of studying dispersal. Although now less popular, direct methods of studying dispersal remain important tools for understanding the evolution of dispersal. Here, we use data from Siberian jays Perisoreus infaustus, a group-living bird species, to compare natal dispersal distances and rates using visual mark-recapture, radio-tracking and microsatellite data. Siberian jays have bimodal natal dispersal timing; socially dominant offspring remain with their parents for up to 5years (delayed dispersers), while they force their subordinate brood mates to leave the parental territory at independence (early dispersers). Early dispersers moved about 9,000m (visual mark-recapture, radio-tracking) before settling in a group as a non-breeder. In contrast, delayed dispersers moved about 1,250m (visual mark-recapture only) and mainly moved to a breeding opening. Dispersal distances were greater in managed habitat compared to natural habitat for both early and delayed dispersers. Molecular estimates based on 23 microsatellite loci and geographical locations supported distance estimates from the direct methods. Our study shows that molecular methods are at least 22 times cheaper than direct methods and match estimates of dispersal distance from direct methods. However, molecular estimates do not give insight into the behavioural mechanisms behind dispersal decisions. Thus, to understand the evolution of dispersal, it is important to combine direct and indirect methods, which will give insights into the behavioural processes affecting dispersal decisions, allowing proximate dispersal decisions to be linked to the ultimate consequences thereof.

Abstract

Molecular methods of assessing dispersal have become increasingly powerful and have superseded direct methods of studying dispersal. Although now less popular, direct methods of studying dispersal remain important tools for understanding the evolution of dispersal. Here, we use data from Siberian jays Perisoreus infaustus, a group-living bird species, to compare natal dispersal distances and rates using visual mark-recapture, radio-tracking and microsatellite data. Siberian jays have bimodal natal dispersal timing; socially dominant offspring remain with their parents for up to 5years (delayed dispersers), while they force their subordinate brood mates to leave the parental territory at independence (early dispersers). Early dispersers moved about 9,000m (visual mark-recapture, radio-tracking) before settling in a group as a non-breeder. In contrast, delayed dispersers moved about 1,250m (visual mark-recapture only) and mainly moved to a breeding opening. Dispersal distances were greater in managed habitat compared to natural habitat for both early and delayed dispersers. Molecular estimates based on 23 microsatellite loci and geographical locations supported distance estimates from the direct methods. Our study shows that molecular methods are at least 22 times cheaper than direct methods and match estimates of dispersal distance from direct methods. However, molecular estimates do not give insight into the behavioural mechanisms behind dispersal decisions. Thus, to understand the evolution of dispersal, it is important to combine direct and indirect methods, which will give insights into the behavioural processes affecting dispersal decisions, allowing proximate dispersal decisions to be linked to the ultimate consequences thereof.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Animal Science and Zoology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 March 2014
Deposited On:23 Jul 2019 09:32
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 15:07
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-013-1663-x

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