San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

Genetic Structure in the Cactus Wren in Coastal Southern California

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Type: report

Article abstract: In this study, we analyze genetic population structure in the cactus wren throughout coastal southern California using microsatellite markers developed specifically for this species. Microsatellites, or short tandem repeats, are repeating regions of DNA with relatively high mutation rates. These mutation rates provide the variability to resolve the effects of recent landscape alterations on genetic population structure, such as those caused by urbanization, agriculture, and wildfire. We expand upon our previous study focused in Orange and San Diego Counties (Barr et al. 2012), adding cactus wren samples from Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. With this full dataset, we characterize the current population genetic structure to provide information on levels of gene flow throughout the cactus wren�s range in coastal southern California. We also analyze genetic diversity and recent demographic change over the study area. Understanding these patterns will aid in management of current cactus wren populations and future efforts in habitat restoration.

Number of pages: 26

Authors: Barr, Kelly; Kus, Barbara; Vandergast, Amy;

Year: 2013

Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey

Prepared for: California Department of Fish and Game;

Prepared by: U.S. Geological Survey;

Keywords: cactus wren; connectivity; genetic; Southern California;

Species: Coastal cactus wren