Genomic erosion in a demographically recovered bird species during conservation rescue

Jackson, H.A., Percival-Alwyn, L., Ryan, C., Albeshr, M.F., Venturi, L., Morales, H.E., Mathers, T.C., Cocker, J., Speak, S.A., Accinelli, G.G., Baker, T., Heavens, D., Willman, F., Dawson, D., Ward, L., Tatayah, V., Zuël, N., Young, R., Concannon, L., Whitford, H., Clavijo, B., Bunbury, N., Tyler, K.M., Ruhomaun, K., Grace, M.K., Bruford, M.W., Jones, C.G., Tollington, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-2450-7255, Bell, D., Groombridge, J.J., Clark, M. and Van Oosterhout, C., 2022. Genomic erosion in a demographically recovered bird species during conservation rescue. Conservation Biology. ISSN 0888-8892

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Abstract

The pink pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri) is an endemic species of Mauritius that has made a remarkable recovery after a severe population bottleneck in the 1970s to early 1990s. Prior to this bottleneck, an ex situ population was established from which captive-bred individuals were released into free-living subpopulations to increase population size and genetic variation. This conservation rescue led to rapid population recovery to 400–480 individuals, and the species was twice downlisted on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. We analyzed the impacts of the bottleneck and genetic rescue on neutral genetic variation during and after population recovery (1993–2008) with restriction site-associated sequencing, microsatellite analyses, and quantitative genetic analysis of studbook data of 1112 birds from zoos in Europe and the United States. We used computer simulations to study the predicted changes in genetic variation and population viability from the past into the future. Genetic variation declined rapidly, despite the population rebound, and the effective population size was approximately an order of magnitude smaller than census size. The species carried a high genetic load of circa 15 lethal equivalents for longevity. Our computer simulations predicted continued inbreeding will likely result in increased expression of deleterious mutations (i.e., a high realized load) and severe inbreeding depression. Without continued conservation actions, it is likely that the pink pigeon will go extinct in the wild within 100 years. Conservation rescue of the pink pigeon has been instrumental in the recovery of the free-living population. However, further genetic rescue with captive-bred birds from zoos is required to recover lost variation, reduce expression of harmful deleterious variation, and prevent extinction. The use of genomics and modeling data can inform IUCN assessments of the viability and extinction risk of species, and it helps in assessments of the conservation dependency of populations.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Conservation Biology
Creators: Jackson, H.A., Percival-Alwyn, L., Ryan, C., Albeshr, M.F., Venturi, L., Morales, H.E., Mathers, T.C., Cocker, J., Speak, S.A., Accinelli, G.G., Baker, T., Heavens, D., Willman, F., Dawson, D., Ward, L., Tatayah, V., Zuël, N., Young, R., Concannon, L., Whitford, H., Clavijo, B., Bunbury, N., Tyler, K.M., Ruhomaun, K., Grace, M.K., Bruford, M.W., Jones, C.G., Tollington, S., Bell, D., Groombridge, J.J., Clark, M. and Van Oosterhout, C.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 12 May 2022
ISSN: 0888-8892
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1111/cobi.13918DOI
1532618Other
Rights: © 2022 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 28 Mar 2022 14:35
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 15:58
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/45990

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