Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis (Procellariformes), and cross-species amplification in eight other seabirds

Genes and Genomics
By: , and 

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Abstract

Background

In the North Pacific, northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) forms extensive colonies in few locales, which may lead to limited gene flow and locale-specific population threats. In the Atlantic, there are thousands of colonies of varying sizes and in Europe the species is considered threatened. Prior screens and classical microsatellite development in fulmar failed to provide a suite of markers adequate for population genetics studies.

Objectives

The objective of this study was to isolate a suite of polymorphic microsatellite loci with sufficient variability to quantify levels of gene flow, population affinity, and identify familial relationships in fulmar. We also performed a cross-species screening of these markers in eight other species.

Methods

We used shotgun sequencing to isolate 26 novel microsatellite markers in fulmar to screen for variability using individuals from two distinct regions: the Pacific (Chagulak Island, Alaska) and the Atlantic (Hafnarey Island, Iceland).

Results

Polymorphism was present in 24 loci in Chagulak and 23 in Hafnarey, while one locus failed to amplify in either colony. Polymorphic loci exhibited moderate levels of genetic diversity and this suite of loci uncovered genetic structuring between the regions. Among the other species screened, polymorphism was present in one to seven loci.

Conclusion

The loci yielded sufficient variability for use in population studies and estimation of familial relationships; as few as five loci provide resolution to determine individual identity. These markers will allow further insight into the global population dynamics and phylogeography of fulmars. We also demonstrated some markers are transferable to other species.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis (Procellariformes), and cross-species amplification in eight other seabirds
Series title Genes and Genomics
DOI 10.1007/s13258-019-00819-5
Edition Online First
Year Published 2019
Language English
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Country Iceland, United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Chagulak Island, Hafnarey Island