Resolving the migratory connectivity (identifying non-breeding grounds) of migrating bird populations that are morphologically similar is crucial for an understanding of their population dynamics and ultimately their conservation. Such is the case in Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, where the Iceland-breeding subspecies islandica shows overlap during the non-breeding season with the continental-Europe-breeding limosa. On the basis of variation in the control region of mitochondrial DNA, it was already shown that there is a clear geographic structure in their phylogeography and a clear discrimination between the haplotypes of the two subspecies. We can thus assign subspecies of non-breeding individuals on the basis of a molecular assay. Here we validated this approach using samples of 113 birds with known breeding origin, and on the basis of haplotype variation, all birds were properly assigned to each subspecies. We then tested for overlap during non-breeding season using a sample of 278 birds from an Iberian wintering and staging area, the inland rice fields in southwest Iberia (Extremadura, Spain). We showed that even in this inland area, 6. 5 % of the birds belonged to islandica subspecies, thus demonstrating the usefulness of genetic markers as an alternative or supplementary method to the most common approach, individual colour-ringing.
|Translated title of the contribution||Do different subspecies of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa overlap in Iberian wintering and staging areas? Validation with genetic markers|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Ornithology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2013|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and comments. This work was supported by funding from FCT (Fundac¸ão para a Ciência e Tecnologia) grant SFRH/BPD/40786/2007 (RJ Lopes), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (JA Alves), NERC (JA Gill). Several members of the Farlington Ringing Group have participated in many godwit catches throughout the range, thus helping attaining samples used here.
- Conservation genetics
- Migratory connectivity