Museum DNA reveals the demographic history of the endangered Seychelles warbler

Spurgin, Lewis, Wright, David, Van der Velde, Marco, Collar, Nigel, Komdeur, Jan, Burke, Terry and Richardson, David ORCID: (2014) Museum DNA reveals the demographic history of the endangered Seychelles warbler. Evolutionary Applications, 7 (9). 1134–1143. ISSN 1752-4563

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The importance of evolutionary conservation – how understanding evolutionary forces can help guide conservation decisions – is widely recognized. However, the historical demography of many endangered species is unknown, despite the fact that this can have important implications for contemporary ecological processes and for extinction risk. Here, we reconstruct the population history of the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis) – an ecological model species. By the 1960s, this species was on the brink of extinction, but its previous history is unknown. We used DNA samples from contemporary and museum specimens spanning 140 years to reconstruct bottleneck history. We found a 25% reduction in genetic diversity between museum and contemporary populations, and strong genetic structure. Simulations indicate that the Seychelles warbler was bottlenecked from a large population, with an ancestral Ne of several thousands falling to <50 within the last century. Such a rapid decline, due to anthropogenic factors, has important implications for extinction risk in the Seychelles warbler, and our results will inform conservation practices. Reconstructing the population history of this species also allows us to better understand patterns of genetic diversity, inbreeding and promiscuity in the contemporary populations. Our approaches can be applied across species to test ecological hypotheses and inform conservation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: acrocephalus sechellensis,approximate baysian computation,birds,bottleneck,island,microsatellites
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2015 12:50
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2023 17:30
DOI: 10.1111/eva.12191

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