Genetic differentiation of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska

Marine Ornithology: Journal of Seabird Research and Conservation
By: , and 

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Abstract

Information about the distribution of genetic variation within and among local populations of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris is needed for effective conservation of this rare and declining species. We compared variation in a 429 base pair fragment of the mitochondrial control region and 11 microsatellite loci among 53 Kittlitz's Murrelets from three sites in the western Aleutian Islands (Attu Island) and Gulf of Alaska (Glacier Bay and Kachemak Bay). We found that birds in these two regions differ genetically in three assessments: (1) global and pairwise indices of genetic differentiation were significantly greater than zero, (2) mitochondrial haplotypes differed by a minimum of nine substitutions, and (3) molecular assignments indicated little gene flow between regions. The data suggest that birds in these regions have been genetically isolated for an extended period. We conclude that Kittlitz's Murrelets from Attu Island and from the Gulf of Alaska represent separate evolutionarily significant units, and should be treated as such for conservation. Genetic data for Kittlitz's Murrelets from the remainder of the breeding range are urgently needed.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Genetic differentiation of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska
Series title Marine Ornithology: Journal of Seabird Research and Conservation
Volume 39
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Pacific Seabird Group
Description 7 p.
First page 45
Last page 51