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Inbreeding depression and founder diversity among captive and free-living populations of the endangered pink pigeon Columba mayeri

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 2004

Kirsty J. Swinnerton
Affiliation:
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey, JE3 5BP, Channel Islands, UK Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada, 120 King Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 4PS, Canada Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Grannum Road, Vacoas, Mauritius Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NS, UK
Jim J. Groombridge
Affiliation:
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NS, UK Institute of Zoology, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK
Carl G. Jones
Affiliation:
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey, JE3 5BP, Channel Islands, UK Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Grannum Road, Vacoas, Mauritius
Robert W. Burn
Affiliation:
Statistical Services Centre, The University of Reading, Harry Pitt Building, PO Box 240, Whiteknights Road, Reading, RG6 6FN, UK
Yousoof Mungroo
Affiliation:
National Parks and Conservation Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Réduit, Mauritius
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Abstract

The endemic pink pigeon has recovered from less than 20 birds in the mid-1970s to 355 free-living individuals in 2003. A major concern for the species' recovery has been the potential genetic problem of inbreeding. Captive pink pigeons bred for reintroduction were managed to maximise founder representation and minimise inbreeding. In this paper, we quantify the effect of inbreeding on survival and reproductive parameters in captive and wild populations and quantify DNA sequence variation in the mitochondrial d-loop region for pink pigeon founders. Inbreeding affected egg fertility, squab, juvenile and adult survival, but effects were strongest in highly inbred birds (F≥0.25). Inbreeding depression was more apparent in free-living birds where even moderate levels of inbreeding affected survival, although highly inbred birds were equally compromised in both captive and wild populations. Mitochondrial DNA haplotypic diversity in pink pigeon founders is low, suggesting that background inbreeding is contributing to low fertility and depressed productivity in this species, as well as comparable survival of some groups of non-inbred and nominally inbred birds. Management of wild populations has boosted population growth and may be required long-term to offset the negative effects of inbreeding depression and enhance the species' survival.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 The Zoological Society of London

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Inbreeding depression and founder diversity among captive and free-living populations of the endangered pink pigeon Columba mayeri
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