Genomic impact of severe population decline in a nomadic songbird

Autoři: Ross Crates aff001;  George Olah aff001;  Marcin Adamski aff002;  Nicola Aitken aff002;  Sam Banks aff001;  Dean Ingwersen aff003;  Louis Ranjard aff002;  Laura Rayner aff001;  Dejan Stojanovic aff001;  Tomasz Suchan aff004;  Brenton von Takach Dukai aff001;  Robert Heinsohn aff001
Působiště autorů: Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia aff001;  Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia aff002;  BirdLife Australia, Carlton, Melbourne, VIC, Australia aff003;  W. Szafer institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


Uncovering the population genetic histories of non-model organisms is increasingly possible through advances in next generation sequencing and DNA sampling of museum specimens. This new information can inform conservation of threatened species, particularly those for which historical and contemporary population data are unavailable or challenging to obtain. The critically endangered, nomadic regent honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia was abundant and widespread throughout south-eastern Australia prior to a rapid population decline and range contraction since the 1970s. A current estimated population of 250–400 individuals is distributed sparsely across 600,000 km2 from northern Victoria to southern Queensland. Using hybridization RAD (hyRAD) techniques, we obtained a SNP dataset from 64 museum specimens (date 1879–1960), 102 ‘recent’ (1989–2012) and 52 ‘current’ (2015–2016) wild birds sampled throughout the historical and contemporary range. We aimed to estimate population genetic structure, genetic diversity and population size of the regent honeyeater prior to its rapid decline. We then assessed the impact of the decline on recent and current population size, structure and genetic diversity. Museum sampling showed population structure in regent honeyeaters was historically low, which remains the case despite a severe fragmentation of the breeding range. Population decline has led to minimal loss of genetic diversity since the 1980’s. Capacity to quantify the overall magnitude of both genetic diversity loss and population decline was limited by the poorer quality of genomic data derived from museum specimens. A rapid population decline, coupled with the regent honeyeater’s high mobility, means a detectable genomic impact of this decline has not yet manifested. Extinction may occur in this nomadic species before a detectable genomic impact of small population size is realised. We discuss the implications for genetic management of endangered mobile species and enhancing the value of museum specimens in population genomic studies.

Klíčová slova:

Genomic libraries – Heterozygosity – Molecular genetics – Population genetics – Population size – Species diversity – Bird genomics – Effective population size


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