, Volume 140, Issue 4–6, pp 137–148 | Cite as

Demographic history and genetic diversity in West Indian Coereba flaveola populations

  • Eva BellemainEmail author
  • Oscar E. Gaggiotti
  • Anna Fahey
  • Eldredge Bermingham
  • Robert E. Ricklefs


The bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) has been well studied throughout the Caribbean region from a phylogenetic perspective. However, data concerning the population genetics and long-term demography of this bird species are lacking. In this study, we focused on three populations within the Lesser Antilles and one on Puerto Rico and assessed genetic and demographic processes, using five nuclear and two mitochondrial markers. We found that genetic diversity of bananaquits on Puerto Rico exceeds that on the smaller islands (Dominica, Guadeloupe and Grenada); this might reflect either successive founder events from Puerto Rico to Grenada, or more rapid drift in smaller populations subsequent to colonization. Population growth rate estimates showed no evidence of rapid expansion and migration was indicated only between populations from the closest islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe. Overall, our results suggest that a “demographic fission” model, considering only mutation and drift, but without migration, can be applied to these bananaquit populations in the West Indies.


Coereba flaveola Demography Genetic diversity Migration Caribbean Nuclear sequences Mitochondrial sequences 



This work was conducted at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama and supported by the Smithsonian Institution James Bond Restricted Endowment. Research by E. Bermingham and RER on West Indian birds has been supported by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. We are grateful to L. Garcia, M. Gonzalez and C. Vergara for technical support in the laboratory. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and their constructive suggestions to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Bellemain
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Oscar E. Gaggiotti
    • 2
  • Anna Fahey
    • 3
  • Eldredge Bermingham
    • 1
  • Robert E. Ricklefs
    • 4
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaPanama
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553Université de Grenoble IGrenoble Cedex 9France
  3. 3.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of Missouri-St LouisSaint LouisUSA
  5. 5.SpygenLe Bourget du Lac CedexFrance

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