Conservation implications of song divergence between source and translocated populations of the North Island Kōkako
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 50, Issue 4, pages 950–960, August 2013
How to Cite
Valderrama, S. V., Molles, L. E., Waas, J. R., Slabbekoorn, H. (2013), Conservation implications of song divergence between source and translocated populations of the North Island Kōkako. Journal of Applied Ecology, 50: 950–960. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12094
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 8 DEC 2012
- Marsden Grant
- Royal Society of New Zealand
- behavioural conservation;
- population isolation;
- vocal divergence
Translocation of individuals from healthy source populations to newly colonize or recolonize suitable habitat is a vital tool for the conservation of a species. Demographic, genetic and landscape factors, but also acoustic signals and cultural factors, will all affect translocation success.
We investigated variation in song, and response to song, of the endangered North Island kōkako Callaeas wilsoni (Bonaparte 1850) in New Zealand in two translocated populations and their source population.
We found significant vocal variation between the source population and both translocated populations, the latter of which had reduced repertoire sizes and increased repertoire sharing, as well as structurally different song elements of higher frequency and shorter duration.
Despite the song divergence and clear variability in the nature and level of response among populations, we did not find any evidence for discrimination against nonlocal song in our reciprocal playback experiments.
Synthesis and applications. Vocal divergence and reduced variability in translocated populations suggest founder effects or reduced social interaction rates. The variation could be viewed as cultural erosion and may undermine translocation success. Persistence of response to playback, despite vocal divergence, suggested that social restrictions on gene flow require at least a few decades of separation after translocation. The decision to translocate individuals of threatened species is becoming a more common tool for species conservation world-wide. We argue that it is important to take vocal variation into account during such management decisions as it may affect success of establishment and persistence of translocated populations.