San Diego Management & Monitoring Program


Vertebrate Species
Cactus Wren Genetic Study - Regional


Project description

This study analyzes genetic population structure in the cactus wren throughout coastal southern California using microsatellite markers developed specifically for this species. It expands upon a 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. Additional samples from Palos Verdes and West Coyote Hills were included in the original dataset in an addendum to the study. 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.


Project groups

SDMMP33

Project Group: Cactus Wren Genetic Analysis


Project location

County: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura

General: Central-central, Central-west, North-central, North-west, South-central, South-west

MU: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


Project focus

Project type: Genetic study

Target species: Coastal cactus wren

Target vegetation: coastal sage scrub


Implementing entities

Main implementing entity: U.S. Geological Survey

Partner: Nature Reserve of Orange County

Point of contact: Amy Vandergast

Principal investigator: Barbara Kus; Amy Vandergast

SDMMP lead: Kris Preston

Study lead: Kelly Barr


Strategic elements

Budget year: FY15-16; Work plan objectives number:


Files and Documents

2013 Genetic Structure in the Cactus Wren in Coastal Southern California

Author(s):Barr, Kelly; Kus, Barbara; Vandergast, Amy

2015 Habitat fragmentation in coastal southern California disrupts genetic connectivity in the cactus wren

Author(s):Barr, Kelly; Howell, Scarlett L.; Kus, Barbara; Perkins, Emily; Preston, Kris; Vandergast, Amy