Genetic and morphological divergence in island and mainland birds: Informing conservation priorities

Dudaniec, Rachael Y., Schlotfeldt, Beth E., Bertozzi, Terry, Donnellan, Stephen C. and Kleindorfer, Sonia (2011) Genetic and morphological divergence in island and mainland birds: Informing conservation priorities. Biological Conservation, 144 12: 2902-2912. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.08.007

Author Dudaniec, Rachael Y.
Schlotfeldt, Beth E.
Bertozzi, Terry
Donnellan, Stephen C.
Kleindorfer, Sonia
Title Genetic and morphological divergence in island and mainland birds: Informing conservation priorities
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2011-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.08.007
Volume 144
Issue 12
Start page 2902
End page 2912
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract Evolutionary processes can complicate conservation efforts for species with uncertain taxonomic classifications and discrete geographic populations. Discordant morphological and genetic patterns across the geographic range of species further calls for the identification of evolutionary significant units for conservation. Using island and mainland populations of a small Australian passerine (the superb fairy-wren, Malurus cyaneus), we examine the relationship between morphological and genetic divergence among two subspecies, M. c. ashbyi (Kangaroo Island, South Australia) and M. c. leggei (South Australia, mainland), using eight microsatellite markers. Island birds showed clear evidence for morphological divergence, with a larger body size and thinner bill compared to mainland birds. Two genetic clusters were found using Bayesian methods, comprising mainland and island regions. Estimates of recent migration rates between all sites were very low (<2%). Morphological and genetic differentiation between island and mainland sites correlated significantly, but not when controlling for isolation by distance. Genetic and morphological substructure was evident with three distinct genetic clusters in each region. Males, the highly sedentary sex, appeared to drive correlations between morphological and genetic differentiation. Our study provides evidence that the subspecies classification of M. cyaneus in island and mainland regions encapsulates two independently diverging populations that can be recognised in conservation planning.
Keyword Genetic divergence
Morphological divergence
Evolutionary lineage
Superb fairy-wren
Sex-biased dispersal
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 9 September 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2012 Collection
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Created: Tue, 28 Feb 2012, 00:37:09 EST by Alexandra Simmonds on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management