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Population genetic divergence and migration pattern of the Saunders's gull Larus saundersi

Author(s): JIANG Hong-Xing | HOU Yun-Qiu | QIAN Fa-Wen | CHU Guo-Zhong | LI Yu-Xiang | WANG Hui | Shan Kai | ZHENG Guang-Mei

Journal: Acta Zoologica Sinica
ISSN 0001-7302

Volume: 54;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 767;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Saunders's gull | Mitochondrial DNA control region | Migration | Phylogeography | Population differentiation

A molecular method was used to reveal population genetic structure and differentiation of Saunders’s Gull Larus saundersi. The mitochondrial control region (CR) sequence variation was assayed from 50 samples, that were collected from 3 current breeding sites in China: Yancheng of Jiangsu, Yellow River Delta of Shandong and Shuangtaihekou of Liaoning. . With the addition of sequences of 2 South Korean samples obtained from the published literature, a total of 49 variable sites were detected and 37 haplotypes were defined from the aligned 550 bp of the 5′ CR. Only 1 haplotype was shared by all 3 sub-populations in China and most of the haplotypes were unique to a sub-population. There were very high diversities in hyplotypes and nucleotides within each population. Over all diversities for all four sub-populations were still quite high ( h = 0.974% ± 0.012%, π= 0.510% ± 0.042%). The range of the nucleotide divergence, the pairwise FST, and the gene flow (Nm) between the 4 populations was between 0.457%–0.585%, -0.03176–0.48063, and 1.03–33.79 respectively. The mean genetic distance among the 4 populations was 0.0051±0.0011. UPGMA tree and statistical parsimony cladogram showed a very shallow phylogenetic tree and a star-like haplotype network, which indicated that no distinctive geographic phylogeography has occurred among the 4 sub-populations. At the same time, the color flagging technique was used to reveal the migration patterns of the 4 breeding sub-populations. The results of the migration and genetic studies are very similar. High genetic diversities in the four sub-populations might result from gene exchange when the gulls return from their wintering areas. Finally, considering the migratory behavior and low genetic differences between sub-populations, we suggest taking different management measures for species and genetic conservation of Saunders’s Gull [Acta Zoologica Sinica 54(5): 767–776, 2008].
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