The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: King penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range

Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: King penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range
Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: King penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range
Background: Seabirds are important components of marine ecosystems, both as predators and as indicators of ecological change, being conspicuous and sensitive to changes in prey abundance. To determine whether fluctuations in population sizes are localised or indicative of large-scale ecosystem change, we must first understand population structure and dispersal. King penguins are long-lived seabirds that occupy a niche across the sub-Antarctic zone close to the Polar Front. Colonies have very different histories of exploitation, population recovery, and expansion.

Results: We investigated the genetic population structure and patterns of colonisation of king penguins across their current range using a dataset of 5,154 unlinked, high-coverage single nucleotide polymorphisms generated via restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq). Despite breeding at a small number of discrete, geographically separate sites, we find only very slight genetic differentiation among colonies separated by thousands of kilometers of open-ocean, suggesting migration among islands and archipelagos may be common. Our results show that the South Georgia population is slightly differentiated from all other colonies and suggest that the recently founded Falkland Island colony is likely to have been established by migrants from the distant Crozet Islands rather than nearby colonies on South Georgia, possibly as a result of density-dependent processes.

Conclusions: The observed subtle differentiation among king penguin colonies must be considered in future conservation planning and monitoring of the species, and demographic models that attempt to forecast extinction risk in response to large-scale climate change must take into account migration. It is possible that migration could buffer king penguins against some of the impacts of climate change where colonies appear panmictic, although it is unlikely to protect them completely given the widespread physical changes projected for their Southern Ocean foraging grounds. Overall, large-scale population genetic studies of marine predators across the Southern Ocean are revealing more interconnection and migration than previously supposed.
Southern Ocean, Seabirds, Molecular ecology, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Dispersal Genetic homogeneity, RAD-Seq, Colonisation, Gene flow
1471-2148
211
Clucas, Gemma V.
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Younger, Jane L.
deea6329-2600-4dfa-a47e-8ac1dd2010e1
Kao, Damian
56c3666c-222c-4d19-98b3-958d3fecc0bd
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Handley, Jonathan
62ff85d6-f705-4ae0-9fff-f53e4fd4e7b1
Miller, Gary D.
7c9e1ec6-4605-4eb5-9eb7-7fe5bc334592
Jouventin, Pierre
56d91b0b-b987-497f-b65e-891465e81a66
Nolan, Paul
fa9bec4c-f17e-4641-8b2e-0367b9e1b79d
Gharbi, Karim
9715391a-8b72-4075-9ca3-3176f5c66b09
Miller, Karen J.
1373f20a-8197-4354-9dd0-ccbcd8e0744d
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206
Clucas, Gemma V.
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Younger, Jane L.
deea6329-2600-4dfa-a47e-8ac1dd2010e1
Kao, Damian
56c3666c-222c-4d19-98b3-958d3fecc0bd
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Handley, Jonathan
62ff85d6-f705-4ae0-9fff-f53e4fd4e7b1
Miller, Gary D.
7c9e1ec6-4605-4eb5-9eb7-7fe5bc334592
Jouventin, Pierre
56d91b0b-b987-497f-b65e-891465e81a66
Nolan, Paul
fa9bec4c-f17e-4641-8b2e-0367b9e1b79d
Gharbi, Karim
9715391a-8b72-4075-9ca3-3176f5c66b09
Miller, Karen J.
1373f20a-8197-4354-9dd0-ccbcd8e0744d
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206

Clucas, Gemma V., Younger, Jane L., Kao, Damian, Rogers, Alex D., Handley, Jonathan, Miller, Gary D., Jouventin, Pierre, Nolan, Paul, Gharbi, Karim, Miller, Karen J. and Hart, Tom (2016) Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: King penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16, 211. (doi:10.1186/s12862-016-0784-z).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Seabirds are important components of marine ecosystems, both as predators and as indicators of ecological change, being conspicuous and sensitive to changes in prey abundance. To determine whether fluctuations in population sizes are localised or indicative of large-scale ecosystem change, we must first understand population structure and dispersal. King penguins are long-lived seabirds that occupy a niche across the sub-Antarctic zone close to the Polar Front. Colonies have very different histories of exploitation, population recovery, and expansion.

Results: We investigated the genetic population structure and patterns of colonisation of king penguins across their current range using a dataset of 5,154 unlinked, high-coverage single nucleotide polymorphisms generated via restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq). Despite breeding at a small number of discrete, geographically separate sites, we find only very slight genetic differentiation among colonies separated by thousands of kilometers of open-ocean, suggesting migration among islands and archipelagos may be common. Our results show that the South Georgia population is slightly differentiated from all other colonies and suggest that the recently founded Falkland Island colony is likely to have been established by migrants from the distant Crozet Islands rather than nearby colonies on South Georgia, possibly as a result of density-dependent processes.

Conclusions: The observed subtle differentiation among king penguin colonies must be considered in future conservation planning and monitoring of the species, and demographic models that attempt to forecast extinction risk in response to large-scale climate change must take into account migration. It is possible that migration could buffer king penguins against some of the impacts of climate change where colonies appear panmictic, although it is unlikely to protect them completely given the widespread physical changes projected for their Southern Ocean foraging grounds. Overall, large-scale population genetic studies of marine predators across the Southern Ocean are revealing more interconnection and migration than previously supposed.

Text
160929_KP_BMC_plaintext.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (3MB)
Text
art%3A10.1186%2Fs12862-016-0784-z.pdf - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (1MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 September 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 October 2016
Published date: 13 October 2016
Keywords: Southern Ocean, Seabirds, Molecular ecology, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Dispersal Genetic homogeneity, RAD-Seq, Colonisation, Gene flow
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 401046
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401046
ISSN: 1471-2148
PURE UUID: b6b0aa48-587b-4c1f-b83f-8ffa5b21a7a9
ORCID for Gemma V. Clucas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4305-1719

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Oct 2016 12:18
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 07:33

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Gemma V. Clucas ORCID iD
Author: Jane L. Younger
Author: Damian Kao
Author: Alex D. Rogers
Author: Jonathan Handley
Author: Gary D. Miller
Author: Pierre Jouventin
Author: Paul Nolan
Author: Karim Gharbi
Author: Karen J. Miller
Author: Tom Hart

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×