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Postglacial population genetic differentiation potentially facilitated by a flexible migratory strategy in Golden-crowned Kinglets (Regulus satrapa)

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Abstract:

Relatively recently, temperate regions in North America were covered by extensive ice sheets, making them inhospitable to contemporary flora and fauna. Since the retreat of the ice sheets, these regions have been recolonized by a diversity of taxa, some of which have undergone rapid postglacial divergence. Evidence supports the hypothesis that some taxa persisted in unglaciated refugia during the Last Glacial Maximum, such as on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands). Many taxa on Haida Gwaii are genetically distinct from mainland populations at neutral molecular markers possibly as the result of isolation in refugia or postglacial colonization. The Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa Lichtenstein, 1823) is a continentally distributed, short-distance migratory passerine inhabiting mature conifer forests including those on Haida Gwaii. We used five microsatellite markers and a 568 base-pair fragment of the mitochondrial control region to determine the likelihood that Haida Gwaii region acted as a refugium for this species during the last ice age. We report significant gene flow between Haida Gwaii and the western North American mainland from mitochondrial markers, but significant population genetic differentiation at nuclear markers. We also report genetic divergence between eastern and western Golden-crowned Kinglets, as well as higher genetic diversity and population substructuring within the western population than within the eastern population. The east–west differentiation probably arose due to isolation in separate Pleistocene refugia south of the ice sheets. However, population differences within the west are likely caused by more recent processes; contemporary differentiation of Haida Gwaii Golden-crowned Kinglets most likely occurred postglacially.

Keywords: Golden-crowned Kinglet; Haida Gwaii; Queen Charlotte Islands; Regulus satrapa; différentiation des populations; flux génétique; gene flow; population differentiation; refuge; refugia; roitelet à couronne dorée; îles de la Reine-Charlotte

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjz-2013-0217

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4, Canada. 2: Department of Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada. 3: Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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