Genetic differentiation between wintering populations of lesser snow geese nesting on Wrangel Island, Russia
- S.B. Kuznetsov , Vasily V. Baranyuk , and John Y. Takekawa
Arctic breeding populations of Lesser Snow Geese (Chen c. caerulescens) range from Baffin Island in eastern Canada to Wrangel Island, Russia, which is located 650 km west of Alaska (Bellrose 1980). Although hundreds of thousands of Lesser Snow Geese may have occupied the Russian arctic in the mid1800s (see Takekawa et al., 1994), the Wrangel Island birds constitute the only remnant colony on the Asian continent (Syroechkovsky and Litvin 1986) and may represent a matriarchal population for the species (Quinn 1992). In the past 30 years, the Wrangel Island colony has declined from more than 200,000 to less than 75,000 breeding adults (Pacific Flyway Technical Subcommittee 1992, V. Baranyuk unpubl. data), which has resulted in increasing concern about its conservation and management.
The Wrangel Island colony consists of two wintering populations that migrate to different regions and are faithful to their wintering areas (McKelvey et al. 1989). The larger northern population (about 60% of the total from Wrangel) migrates to the Fraser River delta of British Columbia and the Skagit River delta of northern Washington, whereas the southern population flies 600 km farther south to the Central Valley of California (Rienecker 1965, Teplov and Shev. aryova 1965, Jeffrey and Kaiser 1979, Priklonsky and Sapetin 1979). The northern population is isolated from other Lesser Snow Geese during the winter, but the southern population mixes with geese from Banks Island, Canada and from the smaller Anderson and Sagaviriniktok River deltas (Dzubin 1974, Johnson 1995, Syroechkovsky et al. 1994).
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- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- Journal Article
- Genetic differentiation between wintering populations of lesser snow geese nesting on Wrangel Island, Russia
- Series title:
- The Auk
- Year Published:
- American Ornithological Society
- Contributing office(s):
- Western Ecological Research Center
- 5 p.
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