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Genetic structure reflects natal dispersal movements at different spatial scales in the blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus

AuthorsOrtego, Joaquín CSIC ORCID; García-Navas, Vicente CSIC ORCID; Ferrer, Esperanza S.; Sanz, Juan José CSIC ORCID
KeywordsCyanistes caeruleus
Genetic structure
Natal dispersal
Population fragmentation
Sex-biased dispersal
Issue Date2011
CitationAnimal Behaviour 82(1): 131-137 (2011)
AbstractThe study of the genetic consequences of dispersal is a central topic in evolutionary, conservation and behavioural research. However, few studies have simultaneously considered dispersal movements from marked individuals and contemporary patterns of gene flow. We analysed the link between dispersal behaviour and gene flow in four populations of blue tits with different degrees of connectivity. For this purpose, we monitored four breeding patches and used genotypic and capture–mark–recapture data to study the genetic consequences of dispersal at different spatial scales. Data on natal dispersal movements revealed that both males and females dispersed less than expected under a random pattern of settlement at the two large spatial scales considered: the whole study area and the two main localities. However, natal dispersal distance was lower than expected under random settlement within natal patches in males whereas an opposite pattern was found for females. Accordingly, microsatellite data revealed limited gene flow between the localities studied and an isolation-by-distance pattern of genetic structure that was particularly strong at the large spatial scale (i.e. considering geographically distant breeding patches). Finally, the strong male philopatry was reflected by a stronger genetic structure and a lower admixed ancestry in this sex. Overall, we found evidence that restricted dispersal and fragmentation may have both contributed to reduce interpopulation gene flow at different spatial scales in a forest species and that there is concordance between genetic studies and those based on capture–mark–recapture.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.04.007
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