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Evaluation of genetic change from translocation among Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) populations

February 13, 2019

Maintenance of genetic diversity is important for conserving species, especially those with fragmented habitats or ranges. In the absence of natural dispersal, translocation can be used to achieve this goal, although the success of translocation can be difficult to measure. Here we evaluate genetic change following translocation in Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus), a species reduced to 7 discrete populations with low levels of gene flow and high levels of genetic differentiation. Between 2000 and 2014, 306 birds from the largest and most genetically diverse population (Gunnison Basin) were translocated to 5 much smaller satellite populations to augment local population size and increase genetic diversity. Although the magnitude of the effect varied by population, we found evidence of increased genetic variation, decreased genetic differentiation from Gunnison Basin, and reproduction between translocated individuals and resident birds. These results suggest that translocations are impacting satellite populations, with current data providing a new baseline for genetic diversity among populations of this imperiled species.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Evaluation of genetic change from translocation among Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) populations
DOI 10.1093/condor/duy006
Authors Shawna J Zimmerman, Cameron L. Aldridge, Anthony D. Apa, Sara J. Oyler-McCance
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ornithological Applications
Series Number
Index ID 70230436
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center