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Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 185–197 | Cite as

Low genetic and morphological differentiation between an introduced population of dunnocks in New Zealand and an ancestral population in England

  • Eduardo S. A. Santos
  • Ian G. Jamieson
  • Luana L. S. Santos
  • Shinichi Nakagawa
Original Paper

Abstract

Species invasions and exotic species introductions can be considered as ‘unplanned experiments’, which help us to understand the evolution of organisms. In this study, we investigated whether an exotic bird species, the dunnock (Prunella modularis), has diverged genetically and morphologically from its native source population (Cambridge, England) after introduction into a new environment (Dunedin, South Island of New Zealand; exotic population). We used a set of microsatellite markers and three morphological traits to quantify the divergence between these two populations. We quantified neutral genotypic differentiation between the populations, and also used an individual-based Bayesian clustering method to assess genetic structure. We compared morphological divergence using univariate and principal components analyses. We found that individuals from the Dunedin population are genetically distinct from the Cambridge population, but levels of differentiation are very low. Overall within-population levels of genetic diversity are low compared to other bird species, and effective population sizes are small; indicating that the native population probably has a historically low level of genetic diversity, and that the introduced population retained most of that diversity after its introduction into New Zealand. We found little evidence of morphological divergence, and the evolutionary rate of change in these traits is below the average for other taxa. Our study adds support to the growing literature showing that invasive species maintain most of their initial genetic diversity after multiple founder events, even when population size is severely reduced. Moreover, our morphological data indicate slow evolutionary rates in species introduced to similar habitats.

Keywords

Contemporary evolution Prunella modularis Exotic species Avian invasion Morphological divergence Evolutionary rate 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the University of Otago for a postgraduate scholarship to ESAS and for a Marsden grant (UOO-0812) to SN, and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour for a research grant. We thank the Dunedin Botanic Garden and its staff for allowing us to conduct our research on their grounds. We especially thank Losia Lagisz and Karin Ludwig for their extensive help with the genetic analyses, and Delphine Scheck, Patrick Crowe and Sam van der Horst for field assistance. We thank Nick Davies and Terry Burke for kindly providing data and samples from Cambridge dunnocks. We thank Radovan Jambor for providing information about Slovakian dunnocks. We thank Deborah Dawson, Andy Krupa, Daichi Saito and Isao Nishiumi for providing primer aliquots. Comments by Marcos R. Lima, Terry Burke and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved an early version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10530_2012_278_MOESM1_ESM.doc (106 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 106 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo S. A. Santos
    • 1
  • Ian G. Jamieson
    • 1
  • Luana L. S. Santos
    • 1
  • Shinichi Nakagawa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary GeneticsMax Planck Institute for OrnithologySeewiesenGermany

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