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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2021

Extreme philopatry and genetic diversification at unprecedented scales in a seabird

Abstract

Effective conservation requires maintenance of the processes underlying species divergence, as well as understanding species' responses to episodic disturbances and long-term change. We explored genetic population structure at a previously unrecognized spatial scale in seabirds, focusing on fine-scale isolation between colonies, and identified two distinct genetic clusters of Barau's Petrels (Pterodroma baraui) on Réunion Island (Indian Ocean) corresponding to the sampled breeding colonies separated by 5 km. This unexpected result was supported by long-term banding and was clearly linked to the species' extreme philopatric tendencies, emphasizing the importance of philopatry as an intrinsic barrier to gene flow. This implies that loss of a single colony could result in the loss of genetic variation, impairing the species' ability to adapt to threats in the long term. We anticipate that these findings will have a pivotal influence on seabird research and population management, focusing attention below the species level of taxonomic organization.

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Animal biology
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hal-03269411 , version 1 (24-06-2021)

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Daniel K. Danckwerts, Laurence Humeau, Patrick Pinet, Christopher D. Mcquaid, Matthieu Le Corre. Extreme philopatry and genetic diversification at unprecedented scales in a seabird. Scientific Reports, 2021, 11, pp.6834. ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-86406-9⟩. ⟨hal-03269411⟩
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