Population structure and genetic diversity of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in fragmented landscapes at the northern edge of their range

Conservation Genetics
By: , and 

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Abstract

Range-edge dynamics and anthropogenic fragmentation are expected to impact patterns of genetic diversity, and understanding the influence of both factors is important for effective conservation of threatened wildlife species. To examine these factors, we sampled greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) from a declining, fragmented region at the northern periphery of the species' range and from a stable, contiguous core region. We genotyped 2,519 individuals at 13 microsatellite loci from 104 leks in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, and Wyoming. Birds from northern Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan were identified as a single population that exhibited significant isolation by distance, with the Milk River demarcating two subpopulations. Both subpopulations exhibited high genetic diversity with no evidence that peripheral regions were genetically depauperate or highly structured. However, river valleys and a large agricultural region were significant barriers to dispersal. Leks were also composed primarily of non-kin, rejecting the idea that leks form because of male kin association. Northern Montana sage-grouse are maintaining genetic connectivity in fragmented and northern peripheral habitats via dispersal through and around various forms of fragmentation. ?? 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Population structure and genetic diversity of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in fragmented landscapes at the northern edge of their range
Series title Conservation Genetics
DOI 10.1007/s10592-010-0159-8
Volume 12
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Conservation Genetics
First page 527
Last page 542