Molecular status of the dusky Canada goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis): A genetic assessment of a translocation effort

Conservation Genetics
By: , and 

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Abstract

Until recently, the dusky Canada goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis) was managedas one breeding population from the CopperRiver Delta (CRD), Alaska. Population numberson the CRD have declined precipitously over thelast three decades, due in part to changes inhabitat. In 1981, a pair of Canada geese,presumably B.c. occidentalis, wasreported nesting on Middleton Island (MID), inthe Gulf of Alaska. Numbers of Canada geese onthe island increased in the decade subsequentto a translocation of geese from CRD to MID,but it is unclear whether the increase isattributable to the translocation effort. Weused genetic data derived from three classes ofgenetic markers to clarify relationships ofCanada geese breeding in south-coastal Alaska. Geese were sampled from 5 populations: CRD,MID, Anchorage (ANC), Admiralty Island (ADM) insoutheastern Alaska, and Green Island (GRN) inPrince William Sound (PWS). Mitochondrial DNAanalyses demonstrate Canada geese from MID arenearly monomorphic for a unique haplotype fixedon GRN but not found in CRD or any otherbreeding population. Furthermore, nuclearmarkers consistently cluster MID with GRN tothe exclusion of CRD. We suggest the currentpopulation on MID is not derived from birdstranslocated from CRD, but rather that MID wasmost likely colonised by birds inhabiting otherisland habitats within the PWS. Furthermore,since geese from the CRD share mtDNA haplotypeswith geese from other breeding locales, theyapparently share recent common ancestry and/orgene flow with populations representing othersubspecies. Our genetic data raise questionsabout the validity of current management unitsof Canada geese.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Molecular status of the dusky Canada goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis): A genetic assessment of a translocation effort
Series title Conservation Genetics
DOI 10.1023/A:1024041702616
Volume 4
Issue 3
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Springer
Description 15 p.
First page 367
Last page 381