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Evaluating the demographic history of the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea): genetic evidence for recovery from a population bottleneck following minimal conservation management.

Groombridge, Jim J., Dawson, Deborah A., Burke, Terry, Prys-Jones, Robert P., de L. Brooke, Michael, Shah, Nirmal J. (2009) Evaluating the demographic history of the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea): genetic evidence for recovery from a population bottleneck following minimal conservation management. Biological Conservation, 142 (10). pp. 2250-2257. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.026) (KAR id:27503)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.026

Abstract

An important requirement for biologists conserving vulnerable species of wildlife and managing genetic

problems associated with small population size is to evaluate existing evidence regarding what is known

of a species’ recent population history. For endemic island species in particular, current genetic impoverishment

could be due to either a recent population crash or a consequence of an evolutionary history

of sustained isolation and small effective population size. Interpreting any given case can often be further

complicated by incomplete or contradictory evidence from historical field surveys that might suggest a

very different demographic history. Here, we use the case of the Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea), an island

endemic previously listed as critically-endangered but now relatively common, to illustrate how genetic

data from microsatellite genotypes of 100–150-year-old museum specimens reveals a recent and severe

population crash since the 1940s to approximately eight individuals, before the population recovered. We

re-interpret the historical population trajectory of the Seychelles kestrel in the light of the minimal intervention

required for this species to recover. We examine different ecological explanations for the decline

and apparently unassisted recovery of the Seychelles kestrel, review the evidence for similarly unaided

recoveries elsewhere and discuss the implications of unaided population recoveries for future species

conservation programmes. Demographic profiles from historical genetic signatures can provide highly

informative evidence when evaluating past and future recovery efforts for endangered species.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.04.026
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 16:36 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/27503 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Groombridge, Jim J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6941-8187
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