Temporal genetic structure and relatedness in the Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula suggests limited kin association in winter

Liu, Yang; Keller, Irene; Heckel, Gerald (2013). Temporal genetic structure and relatedness in the Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula suggests limited kin association in winter. Ibis, 155(3), pp. 499-507. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/ibi.12059

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Conspecific aggregation of waterfowl in winter is a common example of animal flocking behaviour, yet patterns of relatedness and temporal substructure in such social groups remain poorly understood even in common species. A previous study based on mark-recapture data showed that Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula caught on the same day were re-caught together in subsequent winters more often than expected by chance, suggesting stable assortments of ‘socially familiar’ individuals between wintering periods. The genetic relationships within these social groups were not clear. Based on 191 individuals genotyped at 10 microsatellite markers, we investigated the temporal genetic structure and patterns of relatedness among wintering Tufted Ducks at Lake Sempach, Switzerland, in two consecutive winters. We found no evidence of genetic differentiation between temporal groups within or between winters. The average levels of relatedness in temporal groups were low and not higher than expected in random assortments of individuals. However, Mantel tests performed for each sex separately revealed significant negative correlations between the pairwise relatedness coefficients and the number of days between the capture dates of pairs of wintering Tufted Duck in males and females. This pattern suggests the presence of a small number of co-migrating same-sex sibling pairs in wintering flocks of Tufted Ducks. Our findings provide one of the first genetic analyses of a common duck species outside the breeding season and contribute to the understanding of social interactions in long-distance migratory birds.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Population Genetics
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Aquatic Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Liu, Yang; Keller, Irene and Heckel, Gerald

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

0019-1019

Publisher:

Wiley-Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Isabelle Duperret

Date Deposited:

04 Aug 2014 11:30

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 11:02

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/ibi.12059

Uncontrolled Keywords:

kinship, long-distance migration, temporal structure, waterbirds

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.45469

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45469

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