Apr 9, 2020

Unassisted recovery without genetic bottleneck in regionally extinct peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) from southern England

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. WeavingRodrigo Vega


The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) has been affected by persecution, pollution, trade and habitat degradation, but it is considered a flagship conservation success story because of successful reintroductions. However, in the UK there were never formal reintroduction programmes for peregrine falcons, and it appears that UK populations, and specifically the Sussex peregrines of the English south coast, recently recovered from a population crash unassisted. We obtained samples from contemporary populations in southern England, Ireland, continental Europe, domestic-bred peregrine falcons, and from England pre-population crash. Using microsatellite and mtDNA control region data, the genetic diversity and structure, signatures of genetic bottlenecks, and potential origin of the Sussex peregrines was investigated. We found low levels of genetic diversity across all peregrine falcon populations, low but significant genetic differentiation among all populations, and a few private alleles, indicating some level of genetic structure in European peregrines. Although we could not pinpoint the origin of the Sussex peregrines, the data suggests that it is not likely to have originated from escaped domestic birds or from adjacent European...Continue Reading

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