, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 1403-1412

Weak genetic structuring indicates ongoing gene flow across White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera) populations in a highly fragmented Costa Rica landscape

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Abstract

We explored the effects of recent forest fragmentation on fine-scale patterns of population structuring and genetic diversity in populations of White-ruffed Manakins (Corapipo altera) inhabiting premontane forest fragments of varying size in southwestern Costa Rica. Habitat fragmentation is a major conservation concern for avian populations worldwide, but studies of the genetic effects of fragmentation on Neotropical birds are limited. We sampled 159 manakins from nine forest fragments of varying size within an 18 km radius, and genotyped these birds at 13 microsatellite loci. Bayesian clustering methods revealed that birds from all fragments comprised a single genetic population, and an MCMC approach showed that the fragments were likely to be at migration-drift equilibrium. F-statistics showed only modest levels of differentiation between forest fragments. We calculated allelic diversity indices for each fragment but found no correlation between genetic diversity and fragment size. These results suggest that manakins may retain substantial connectivity via inter-fragment dispersal despite habitat fragmentation.