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Phylogeography of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor): Are management units based on band recovery data reflected in genetically based management units?

Auk

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Abstract

Information on population connectivity throughout the annual cycle has become more crucial, because populations of many migratory birds are in decline. One such species is the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), which inhabits early-successional forests in eastern North America. Although band recoveries have proved useful for dividing populations of this game bird species into an Eastern Region and Central Region for management purposes, these data do not provide enough detail to determine the breeding population of origin of birds recovered on stopover and wintering areas. To obtain more fine-scale data, we undertook a phylogeographic study of American Woodcock populations throughout their primary breeding range in the eastern United States and Canada using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from the hypervariable control region I (CRI) and ND6 gene. Despite high haplotype diversity, nucleotide diversity was low and there was no phylogeographic structure among American Woodcock populations across the species range, with birds from many states and provinces in both management regions sharing identical haplotypes. Results suggest recent or ongoing gene flow among populations, with asymmetric movement of birds between migration flyways. As has been demonstrated for several other avian species in North America, American Woodcock appear to have undergone a rapid population expansion following the late Pleistocene glacial retreat. Thus, a combination of historical demographic factors and recent or ongoing gene flow mask any population structure based on mtDNA that might accrue from philopatry to breeding areas observed in studies of marked birds.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Phylogeography of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor): Are management units based on band recovery data reflected in genetically based management units?
Series title:
Auk
Volume
122
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
1149-1160
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Auk
First page:
1149
Last page:
1160
Number of Pages:
12