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Conservation of the Seychelles paradise flycatcher

Bristol, Rachel M (2014) Conservation of the Seychelles paradise flycatcher. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.100278) (KAR id:100278)


The main goal of recovery programmes for threatened species is to reverse declines in population trajectory, distribution and abundance that have been caused directly or indirectly by human activities. One conservation strategy increasingly used to reduce the threat of extinction is (re) introduction. However reintroduction is a daunting task, given the complex suite of genetic and demographic factors influencing the ecological and evolutionary processes of natural populations, some of which are still relatively poorly understood. I use the Seychelles paradise flycatcher (SPF) as a study system in order to undertake a series of scientific studies to address questions relevant to the species’ conservation and to the wider field of reintroduction biology. I construct a molecular phylogeny of the Terpsiphone flycatchers of the Indian Ocean and use it to evaluate conservation priorities based on evolutionary distinctiveness and place conservation of the SPF into a wider context. I assess the genetic consequences of reintroductions by comparing the loss of genetic diversity across a historical bottleneck that reduced the SPF to c.28 individuals to the loss of genetic diversity due to a recent conservation introduction. I then assess a suite of individual, ecological, and evolutionary variables on SPF productivity within remnant and reintroduced SPF populations. I find severely depleted genetic diversity following a historical bottleneck does not render a species immune to further genetic erosion upon reintroduction. I find the main drivers of flycatcher productivity are food abundance and predators, and importantly food abundance predicts offspring sex with a bias towards males in low quality habitat. Lastly I combine my findings on the relative influences of genetic, demographic, ecological and evolutionary factors to inform future conservation and reintroduction strategy for the both the SPF and threatened species in general.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Groombridge, Jim J.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.100278
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2023 09:13 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2023 16:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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