Barriers acting on the genetic structure of a highly aerial seabird: The magnificent frigatebird

Publication year: 2011
Source: Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

Mónica, González-Jaramillo , Axayácatl, Rocha-Olivares

The sometimes-distant association between dispersal movements and mating strategies may govern seabird ecology. Despite their large dispersal capability, pelagic seabirds are subject to the influence of physical and non-physical barriers that may limit the magnitude of realized effective dispersal and gene flow. The Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a widespread, tropical, pelagic, sequentially monogamous seabird capable to breach physical barriers, such as land masses. Nevertheless, Mexican frigatebirds have shown movement preferences by sex (female migration and high male site fidelity), which, along with the complex female mate choice behavior, may promote breeding isolation. In order to ascertain if levels of…

 Highlights: ► We assess the genetic structure of Pacific and Caribbean colonies of frigatebirds. ► Mitochondrial DNA revealed differentiation between ocean basins. ► No differentiation was found among Pacific colonies. ► Behavioral barriers may be responsible for differentiation between Pacific and Caribbean colonies.