Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 509–513 | Cite as

Isolation and characterisation of 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus; Sternidae), a super-abundant pan-tropical seabird, including a test of cross-species amplification using two noddies (Anous spp.)

  • D. K. DanckwertsEmail author
  • C. Lebarbenchon
  • M. Le Corre
  • L. Humeau
Short Communication


We isolate and characterise 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the super-abundant, pan-tropical sooty tern (Onychoprion fuscatus), facilitating population genetic studies. In 70 samples from two breeding colonies, the total number of alleles per locus ranged between 5 and 21, observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.143 to 0.942, while estimated null allele frequency varied from −0.131 to 0.273. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) conditions were optimised across loci, enabling multiplexing and rapid multilocus genotyping. These 16 loci will be useful for future studies of genetic diversity and population structure, and can be used as a proxy through which to assess ecosystem function and change. We additionally test cross-species amplification in the brown (Anous stolidus) and lesser (A. tenuirostris) noddies, illustrating a use of these microsatellites in other related Sternidae species.


Sooty tern Onychoprion fuscatus Anous Sternidae Microsatellite Population genetics Conservation 



Primer development was co-funded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA; grant MARG I_2015_03) and the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) of the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). We are additionally grateful to Raylene Swanepoel for technical support, and to Matthieu Bastien, Sophie Bureau, Chris Feare, Audrey Jaeger and Christine Larose for sample collection. Extreme gratitude must also be paid to the Savy family, for providing access and support at Bird Island. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutions (Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Animal Ethics reference number: ZOOL-01-2013) and organisations through which it was conducted. Finally, the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. K. Danckwerts
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • C. Lebarbenchon
    • 3
  • M. Le Corre
    • 2
  • L. Humeau
    • 4
  1. 1.Coastal Research Group, Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.UMR ENTROPIE (Université de La Réunion, IRD, CNRS)Ile de La RéunionFrance
  3. 3.Université de La Réunion, UMR Processus Infectieux en Milieu Insulaire Tropical (PIMIT), INSERM 1187, CNRS 9192, IRD 249, GIP CYROISainte-ClotildeFrance
  4. 4.UMR PVBMT (Université de La Réunion, CIRAD)Ile de La RéunionFrance

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