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Limited genetic differentiation among chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies in the Scotia Arc and Western Antarctic Peninsula

Limited genetic differentiation among chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies in the Scotia Arc and Western Antarctic Peninsula
Limited genetic differentiation among chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies in the Scotia Arc and Western Antarctic Peninsula
Long-term monitoring of seabird numbers around Antarctica has revealed that the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) is largely declining throughout its range in the Scotia Arc. Whether archipelagos across this large area remain connected via dispersal or represent genetically isolated groups has not yet been established. The purpose of this study was to assess the level of genetic differentiation between four breeding colonies on the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), South Shetland, South Orkney, and South Sandwich Islands using microsatellite-based analysis of population structure. All colonies had similar levels of genetic diversity (mean heterozygosity, H O = 0.583) but colonies from the WAP and South Orkney Island had significant inbreeding coefficients. Hierarchical and pairwise F-statistics revealed very limited population structure in the Scotia Arc, with weak differentiation between colonies from the WAP, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands relative to the South Sandwich Islands, which are situated at least 1000 km apart from these other archipelagos. Bayesian model-based clustering methods found no evidence of significant population structuring, suggesting that whilst some isolation by distance may occur, there are no strong barriers to dispersal across this wide geographic range. No evidence of sex-biased dispersal was detected. We conclude that chinstrap penguin colonies across the Scotia Arc represent one interconnected breeding population. High levels of gene flow may be important in maintaining smaller, less stable colonies, and this status should be preserved by creating dispersal corridors throughout the Scotia Arc.
0722-4060
1493-1502
Freer, Jennifer J.
3ec10508-f4b5-4214-b9de-29a0b3154edd
Mable, Barbara K.
60d7bcda-6e9d-476a-8620-36354de49222
Clucas, Gemma
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Polito, Michael J.
0ca8084c-6c7c-4d3e-afbc-4240d1f5cab8
Dunn, Michael
546c0831-42b9-4949-96d8-11ab6f1e9fb9
Naveen, Ron
860b0e90-50ee-45ea-a0bc-02a9fd744d8e
Levy, Hila
706757f3-1c20-448d-ae44-685fb805ce82
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206
Freer, Jennifer J.
3ec10508-f4b5-4214-b9de-29a0b3154edd
Mable, Barbara K.
60d7bcda-6e9d-476a-8620-36354de49222
Clucas, Gemma
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Polito, Michael J.
0ca8084c-6c7c-4d3e-afbc-4240d1f5cab8
Dunn, Michael
546c0831-42b9-4949-96d8-11ab6f1e9fb9
Naveen, Ron
860b0e90-50ee-45ea-a0bc-02a9fd744d8e
Levy, Hila
706757f3-1c20-448d-ae44-685fb805ce82
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206

Freer, Jennifer J., Mable, Barbara K., Clucas, Gemma, Rogers, Alex D., Polito, Michael J., Dunn, Michael, Naveen, Ron, Levy, Hila and Hart, Tom (2015) Limited genetic differentiation among chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies in the Scotia Arc and Western Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology, 38 (9), 1493-1502. (doi:10.1007/s00300-015-1711-2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Long-term monitoring of seabird numbers around Antarctica has revealed that the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) is largely declining throughout its range in the Scotia Arc. Whether archipelagos across this large area remain connected via dispersal or represent genetically isolated groups has not yet been established. The purpose of this study was to assess the level of genetic differentiation between four breeding colonies on the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), South Shetland, South Orkney, and South Sandwich Islands using microsatellite-based analysis of population structure. All colonies had similar levels of genetic diversity (mean heterozygosity, H O = 0.583) but colonies from the WAP and South Orkney Island had significant inbreeding coefficients. Hierarchical and pairwise F-statistics revealed very limited population structure in the Scotia Arc, with weak differentiation between colonies from the WAP, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands relative to the South Sandwich Islands, which are situated at least 1000 km apart from these other archipelagos. Bayesian model-based clustering methods found no evidence of significant population structuring, suggesting that whilst some isolation by distance may occur, there are no strong barriers to dispersal across this wide geographic range. No evidence of sex-biased dispersal was detected. We conclude that chinstrap penguin colonies across the Scotia Arc represent one interconnected breeding population. High levels of gene flow may be important in maintaining smaller, less stable colonies, and this status should be preserved by creating dispersal corridors throughout the Scotia Arc.

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More information

Published date: September 2015
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 382588
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/382588
ISSN: 0722-4060
PURE UUID: d0dc1bc2-11e2-452b-a19a-480e1f242897
ORCID for Gemma Clucas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4305-1719

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Date deposited: 07 Oct 2015 09:50
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 12:11

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Contributors

Author: Jennifer J. Freer
Author: Barbara K. Mable
Author: Gemma Clucas ORCID iD
Author: Alex D. Rogers
Author: Michael J. Polito
Author: Michael Dunn
Author: Ron Naveen
Author: Hila Levy
Author: Tom Hart

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