Conservation genetics of regionally extinct peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) and unassisted recovery without genetic bottleneck in southern England

Journal article


Weaving, A., Jackson, H. A, Nicholls, M. K., Franklin, J. and Vega, R. 2020. Conservation genetics of regionally extinct peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) and unassisted recovery without genetic bottleneck in southern England. Conservation Genetics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-020-01324-z
AuthorsWeaving, A., Jackson, H. A, Nicholls, M. K., Franklin, J. and Vega, R.
Abstract

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) has been affected by persecution, pollution, trade, and habitat degradation, but it is considered a flagship conservation success story because of successful reintroductions and population recoveries across broad ranges. However, in the UK there were never formal reintroduction programmes for peregrine falcons, and it appears that UK populations – and specifically the Sussex peregrines of the English south coast – recently recovered from a population crash unassisted. To study this, we obtained samples from contemporary populations in southern England, Ireland, continental Europe, domestic-bred peregrine falcons, and from England pre-population crash. Using microsatellite and mtDNA control region data, the genetic diversity and structure, signatures of genetic bottlenecks, and potential origin of the Sussex peregrines was investigated. We found low levels of genetic diversity across all peregrine falcon groups, low but significant genetic differentiation, and a few private alleles, indicating some level of genetic structure among European peregrines. Although we could not pinpoint the origin of the Sussex peregrines, the data suggests that it is not likely to have originated from escaped domestic birds or from adjacent European populations. The results obtained here parallel other studies on peregrines elsewhere showing low genetic diversity but genetic structure. We conclude that not enough time elapsed for genetic erosion to occur due to the population bottleneck, and that at least for the Sussex peregrines there is no need for genetic conservation by wild-take and subsequent captive breeding programmes as long as current protection measures remain in place.

KeywordsConservation; Genetic diversity; Microsatellites; mtDNA control region; Organochlorine pesticides; Raptors; Birds; Ornithology
Year2020
JournalConservation Genetics
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1566-0621
1572-9737
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-020-01324-z
Official URLhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-020-01324-z
Related URLhttps://europepmc.org/article/ppr/ppr148755
Publication dates
Online13 Jan 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Dec 2020
Accepted07 Dec 2020
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
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Additional information

This project was partially funded by the Sussex Peregrine Study, code 8309- Research: Other Sources; 10069 – Human & Life Sciences; G90406 - H & LS Research

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Northern glacial refugia for the pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) in Europe revealed by phylogeographic analyses and species distribution modelling.
Vega, R., Fløjgaard, C., Lira-Noriega, A., Nakazawa, Y., Svenning, J. and Searle, J. 2010. Northern glacial refugia for the pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) in Europe revealed by phylogeographic analyses and species distribution modelling. Ecography. 33 (2), pp. 260-271. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.06287.x
Multiple refugia and barriers explain the phylogeography of the Valais shrew, Sorex antinorii (Mammalia: Soricomorpha)
Yannic, G., Pellissier, L., Dubey, S., Vega, R., Basset, P., Mazzotti, S., Hauffe, H., Searle, J. and Hausser, J. 2012. Multiple refugia and barriers explain the phylogeography of the Valais shrew, Sorex antinorii (Mammalia: Soricomorpha). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 105 (4), pp. 864-880. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01824.x
Colonisation of Ireland: revisiting ‘the pygmy shrew syndrome’ using mitochondrial, Y chromosomal and microsatellite markers
McDevitt, A., Vega, R., Rambau, R., Yannic, G., Herman, J., Hayden, T. and Searle, J. 2011. Colonisation of Ireland: revisiting ‘the pygmy shrew syndrome’ using mitochondrial, Y chromosomal and microsatellite markers. Heredity. 107 (6), pp. 548-557. https://doi.org/10.1038/hdy.2011.41