Kentish versus Snowy Plover: Phenotypic and genetic analyses of Charadrius alexandrinus reveal divergence of Eurasian and American subspecies

C Kupper, J Augustin, A Kosztolanyi, T Burke, J Figuerola, T Szekely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many shorebird species have widespread geographic distributions comprising several continents. Because shorebirds are excellent flyers and can migrate large distances, it is often unclear whether reproductive barriers between subspecies and populations from different continents exist. Kentish-Snowy Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) are cosmopolitan shorebirds. Whether the American and Eurasian subspecies-Snowy Plover and Kentish Plover, respectively-constitute a single species is the subject of a longstanding debate. We examined the divergence between American and Eurasian populations to reassess the current taxonomy by comparing genetic and phenotypic characters of the American subspecies C. a. nivosus and the Eurasian subspecies C. a. alexandrinus from seven populations. Genetic analyses revealed that American and Eurasian populations have strongly diverged, the Kentish Plover being more closely related to the White-fronted Plover (C. marginatus) than to the Snowy Plover. These results were consistent across all assessed nuclear markers (26 microsatellites and a partial CHD sequence) and two rnitochondrial markers (ND3 and ATPase 6/8). Within subspecies, populations sampled across large geographic distances were not genetically differentiated (all F-st
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-852
Number of pages14
JournalAuk
Volume126
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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