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Genetic structure among closely spaced leks in a peripheral population of lesser prairie-chickens

Authors

  • Juan L. Bouzat,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403–0212, USA,
      Juan L. Bouzat. Fax: (419) 372 2024; E-mail: jbouzat@bgnet.bgsu.edu
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  • Kristine Johnson

    1. Natural Heritage New Mexico, Biology Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA
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Juan L. Bouzat. Fax: (419) 372 2024; E-mail: jbouzat@bgnet.bgsu.edu

Abstract

We evaluated the genetic structure of birds from four closely spaced leks in a peripheral population of lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). Analyses of molecular variance revealed significant genetic structuring among birds from different leks for six microsatellite loci (FST = 0.036; P = 0.002), but we found no genetic differentiation at the mtDNA control region. Significant deviations from Hardy–Weinberg revealed an excess of homozygote genotypes within each of the leks studied (FIS = 0.190–0.307), indicative of increased inbreeding. Estimates of relatedness using microsatellite data suggest that the genetic structuring among lesser prairie-chicken leks occurs in part because of a lek mating system in which males at some leks are related. Structuring may also be caused by stochastic effects associated with a historical decline in population size leading to small, semi-isolated leks and high site fidelity by reproductive males. Results from this study suggest that microspatial genetic structuring may occur in lek-mating bird species with low levels of dispersal.

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