Patterns of at-sea behaviour at a hybrid zone between two threatened seabirds

Austin, R. E. et al. (2019) Patterns of at-sea behaviour at a hybrid zone between two threatened seabirds. Scientific Reports, 9, 14720. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51188-8) (PMID:31604997) (PMCID:PMC6789130)

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Patterns of behavioural variation and migratory connectivity are important characteristics of populations, particularly at the edges of species distributions, where processes involved in influencing evolutionary trajectories, such as divergence, mutual persistence, and natural hybridization, can occur. Here, we focused on two closely related seabird species that breed in the Mediterranean: Balearic shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus) and Yelkouan shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan). Genetic and phenotypic evidence of hybridization between the two species on Menorca (the eastern and westernmost island in the breeding ranges of the two shearwaters, respectively) has provided important insights into relationships between these recently diverged species. Nevertheless, levels of behavioural and ecological differentiation amongst these populations remain largely unknown. Using geolocation and stable isotopes, we compared the at-sea movement behaviour of birds from the Menorcan ‘hybrid’ population with the nearest neighbouring populations of Balearic and Yelkouan shearwaters. The Menorcan population displayed a suite of behavioural features intermediate to those seen in the two species (including migration strategies, breeding season movements and limited data on phenology). Our findings provide new evidence to support suggestions that the Menorcan population is admixed, and indicate a role of non-breeding behaviours in the evolutionary trajectories of Puffinus shearwaters in the Mediterranean.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK (grant numbers: NE/J500227/1, EK192-02/12).Te National Oceanography Centre, the Total Foundation and Merton College – University of Oxford provided additional support. Te Yelkouan shearwater project was funded by the French Biodiversity Agency for Marine Protected Areas within the ‘Programme PACOMM, Natura2000 en mer’. MG is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science (CGL2017-85210).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Austin, R. E., Wynn, R. B., Votier, S. C., Trueman, C., McMinn, M., Rodríguez, A., Suberg, L., Maurice, L., Newton, J., Genovart, M., Péron, C., Grémillet, D., and Guilford, T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 9: 14720
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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