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Novel hybrid finds a peri-urban niche: Allen’s Hummingbirds in southern California

A Correction to this article was published on 22 September 2020

This article has been updated

Abstract

Species range expansions and contractions can have ecological and genetic consequences, and thus are important areas of study for conservation. Hybridization and introgression are not uncommon in closely related populations that experience secondary contact during a range expansion. Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) in California comprises two subspecies: the migratory S. s. sasin, which winters in central Mexico and breeds in central and northern California, and the resident S. s. sedentarius, which lives and breeds year-round on several of the Channel Islands off the California coast. Within recent decades, Allen’s Hummingbirds have been found living and breeding year-round in the southern California peri-urban mainland near Los Angeles. Ornithologists assumed that the L.A. birds were an expansion of the island subspecies, S. s. sedentarius due to similar but very subtle morphological characteristics. However, the genetic relationships among the three putative populations of Allen's hummingbird—migratory, southern California mainland, and island—are unknown. We investigated these relationships by analyzing variation of single nucleotide polymorphisms from the three geographic regions where S. sasin are present. Our population genomic analyses indicate that S. sasin hummingbirds inhabiting mainland southern California are a hybrid population resulting from admixture between S. s. sasin and S. s. sedentarius. From one perspective, these results may be interpreted as a positive development for S. s. sasin as the growing population represent an overall increase in the S. sasin population, and the expanding population contains a significant representation of S. s. sasin alleles.

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Fig. 1

modified from Clark (2017).

Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Data and code availability

The datasets generated during this study will be available in Dryad data repository: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zgmsbcc84.

Change history

  • 22 September 2020

    In the original publication of the article, the Acknowledgements section was published incorrectly. The correct Acknowledgements section is given in this Correction.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank R. Colwell, S. Wethington, and L. Rogers for help with banding training and techniques; T. Drazenovich, L. Dalbeck, A. Vazquez, S. Wetzlich, and P. Smith technical assistance; UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology (I. Engilis and J. Trochet), Lindsay Wildlife Museum (A. Moresco; M. Anderson), California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, California Department of Public Health Dead Bird Program, California Academy of Science Museum Vertebrate Collections, UC San Diego Wildlife Museum (K. Burns), C. Koehler, and P. Aigner for donating samples and/or expertise; C.A. Buerkle, M. Murphy, M. Dillon, and D. McDonald for guidance on analyses and project design; banding volunteers including G. Ernest-Hoar, B. Hoar, E. Graves, and S. Skalos for valuable field work assistance; M. Kusch, M. & D. Ashleigh, L. Hurley, M. Straub, T. Smith and other site hosts for their permission to study hummingbirds on their properties.

Funding

Financial support was provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Avian Health and Disease Grant (H.B.E.); Yolo Audubon Society (H.B.E.), Kelly Ornithology Grants (H.B.E. and B.L.G.), Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund (B.L.G.), Berry Biodiversity Center Grant (H.B.E.), University of Wyoming INBRE grant (B.L.G.), UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (H.B.E.), UC Davis Academic Senate Grant (H.B.E.), University of Wyoming (H.B.E.), and anonymous donors (H.B.E.).

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BLG and HBE developed the hypothesis and design and collected samples. LAT, AE, and HBE assisted in sample collection and provided expertise. HBE supervised the research. BLG, MEFL, BM, RBG, KDG, SMLS, AE, LAT, and HBE wrote or substantially contributed to editing the paper or specific analyses. BLG analyzed the data with assistance and/or guidance from all other authors.

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Correspondence to Holly B. Ernest.

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All procedures conformed to the animal care and use protocols approved by the University of Wyoming, the University of California, Davis, state and federal permitting requirements. University of California protocols for animal use and care: 15387, 16977, 18605. University of Wyoming protocol for animal use and care: 20150716HE00183. Federal Bird Banding permit: 23765.

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Godwin, B.L., LaCava, M.E.F., Mendelsohn, B. et al. Novel hybrid finds a peri-urban niche: Allen’s Hummingbirds in southern California. Conserv Genet 21, 989–998 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10592-020-01303-4

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Keywords

  • Avian genetics
  • Conservation
  • Hybridization
  • Population genomics
  • Range expansion
  • Selasphorus sasin
  • Single-nucleotide polymorphism
  • Subspecies