San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

Genetic Connectivity in the Coastal Cactus Wren

Type: report

Article abstract: The coastal cactus wren (Camphylorynchus brunneicapillus sandiegensis) is one of numerous species in decline in San Diego County. Limited to prickly pear (Opuntia.sp.) and cholla (Cylindropuntia sp.) cacti for nesting, the resident songbird's persistence in the county relies upon the existence of such habitat. Urbanization, agriculture, and fire have reduced cactus in San Diego County, leaving only a remnant of the once abundant habitat for the coastal cactus wren (Shuford & Gardali 2008). Large aggregations of cactus wrens exist in areas where urbanization and agriculture have been excluded, such as on the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station (NWS), on several sites in San Pasqual Valley, and around both Lake Jennings and the Sweetwater Reservoir. Smaller groups dwell in urban canyons, nature reserves, and otherwise undeveloped areas around the county as well. On the order of 200 known coastal cactus wren territories currently exist on public and otherwise preserved properties in San Diego County, likely representing a major reduction from historical population sizes (Shufard & Gardali 2008).

Number of pages: 30

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

Year: 2012

Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey

Prepared for: San Diego Management and Monitoring Program;

Prepared by: U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center;

Keywords: Bayesian clustering; cactus wren; Coastal Cactus Wren; connectivity; conservation genetics; genetic;

Species: Cactus Wren

Threats: Urban development