Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Genetic consequences of natal dispersal in the colonial lesser kestrel

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:ORTEGO, JOAQUÍN, Calabuig, G, Aparicio, JMiguel, Cordero, PJ
Journal:Molecular Ecology
Date Published:2008
ISBN Number:1365-294X
Keywords:Falco, Falco naumanni, Falco tinnunculus, Falconidae, genetic diversity, genetic structure, isolation by distance, microsatellites, relatedness
Abstract:Abstract Dispersal is a life-history trait that plays a fundamental role in population dynamics, influencing evolution, species distribution, and the genetics and structure of populations. In spite of the fact that dispersal has been hypothesized to be an efficient behavioural mechanism to avoid inbreeding, the expected relationship between dispersal and mate relatedness still remains controversial. Here, we examine the genetic consequences of natal dispersal, namely the higher chance of obtaining genetically less similar mates as a result of moving from natal to breeding sites, in a lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) population. Relatedness between individuals tended to decrease with distance between their breeding colonies, indicating that the study population follows an ‘isolation-by-distance’ pattern of spatial genetic structure. Such a fine-scale genetic structure generates a scenario in which individuals can potentially increase the chance of obtaining genetically less similar mates by dispersing over larger distances from their natal colony. Using dispersal information and genotypic data, we showed that mate relatedness decreased with natal dispersal distance, an effect that remained significant both while including and excluding philopatric individuals from the data set. These results, together with the well known detrimental consequences of reduced genetic diversity in the study population, suggest that dispersal may have evolved, at least in part, to avoid the negative fitness consequences of mating with genetically similar individuals.
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