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Friday, 16 January 2015

Conservation genetics of high-arctic Gull species: Ivory and Ross's Gulls. Mitochondrial DNA; December 2014

Conservation genetics of high-arctic Gull species at risk: I. Diversity in the mtDNA control region of circumpolar populations of the Endangered Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea)

Posted online on December 26, 2014. (doi:10.3109/19401736.2014.989520)
Mitochondrial DNA
LINK (not free access)

Authors
Stephanie R. Royston, and Steven M. Carr
Genetics, Evolution, and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL, Canada
Correspondence: Steven M. Carr, Genetics, Evolution, and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL A1B 3X9, Canada. Tel: +1 709 864 4776. E-mail: scarr@mun.ca

Abstract
The high-arctic Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) has recently undergone a sharp decline in numbers, and in Canada it is listed as “Endangered” under the Species-At-Risk Act. To test for circumpolar genetic distinctiveness, we examined 264 bp of the mtDNA Control Region Domain I from 127 museum specimens collected during the breeding season from northern Canada, Greenland, and Norway, and during the non-breeding season from adjacent overwintering grounds in Canada, Greenland, and a disjunct area in Alaska adjacent to the Bering Sea. Partition of genetic variance according to various phylogeographic and breeding ground models indicates no strong population structure, except that Alaska birds are consistently differentiated from other locations, and there are significant temporal shifts in haplotype frequencies. The evidence suggests that Ivory Gulls in Canada, Greenland, and Norway are a single genetic entity, in contrast to Alaska birds, which may represent a distinctive Siberian population.

Keywords
Conservation genetics, COSEWIC, endangered species, ivory gull, mtDNA


Conservation genetics of high-arctic Gull species at risk: II. Diversity in the mtDNA control region of Threatened Ross’s Gull (Rhodostethia rosea)
Posted online on December 26, 2014. (doi:10.3109/19401736.2014.989499)
Mitochondrial DNA
LINK (not free access)

Abstract
Ross’s Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) is the rarest of Canadian high-arctic gulls, and is listed as Threatened under Canada’s Species-At-Risk Act. The large majority of birds breed in Siberia: the origins and affinities of four extremely small breeding colonies observed since 1978 in the Canadian high arctic are unknown. We compared a 515-bp region of the mtDNA Control Region amplified from material in museum collections taken from non-breeding birds in Canada (n = 8) and Alaska (n = 6), the latter passage migrants from the Siberian populations. The Alaskan birds all have distinct haplotypes that differ by as many as six SNPs: Canadian birds taken in the vicinity of the breeding colonies show only two of these. We hypothesize the origins of the Canadian breeding colonies as recent founder events by small numbers of passage migrants from Siberia via Alaska. Ross’s Gull maintains a very tenuous breeding presence in the Canadian high Arctic.

Keywords
Conservation genetics, COSEWIC, mtDNA, Ross’s Gull, Threatened species


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