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Type: Journal article
Title: Menage a trois on Macquarie Island: hybridization among three species of fur seal (Arctocephalus spp.) following historical population extinction
Author: Lancaster, M.
Gemmell, N.
Negro, S.
Goldsworthy, S.
Sunnucks, P.
Citation: Molecular Ecology, 2006; 15(12):3681-3692
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2006
ISSN: 0962-1083
Statement of
M. L. Lancaster, N. J. Gemmell, S. Negro, S. Goldsworthy, P. Sunnucks
Abstract: Human-induced changes to natural systems can cause major disturbances to fundamental ecological and population processes and result in local extinctions and secondary contacts between formerly isolated species. Extensive fur seal harvesting during the nineteenth century on Macquarie Island (subantarctic) resulted in extinction of the original population. Recolonization by three species has been slow and complex, characterized by the establishment of breeding groups of Antarctic and subantarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella and Arctocephalus tropicalis) and presumed nonbreeding (itinerant) male New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri). One thousand and seven pups from eight annual cohorts (1992-2003) were analysed using mitochondrial control region data (RFLP) and 10 microsatellite loci to estimate species composition and hybridization. Antarctic fur seals predominated, but hybridization occurred between all three species (17-30% of all pups). Involvement of New Zealand fur seals was unexpected as females are absent and males are not observed to hold territories during the breeding season. The proportion of hybrids in the population has fallen over time, apparently owing to substantial influxes of pure Antarctic and subantarctic individuals and non-random mating. Over 50% of New Zealand hybrids and 43% of Antarctic-subantarctic hybrids were not F(1), which indicates some degree of hybrid reproductive success, and this may be underestimated: simulations showed that hybrids become virtually undetectable by the third generation of backcrossing. While human impacts seem to have driven novel hybridization in this population, the present 'time slices' analysis suggests some biological resistance to complete homogenization.
Keywords: Arctocephalus; backcross; fur seal; hybridization; introgression
Description: The definitive version is available at
RMID: 0020064234
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.03041.x
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute publications

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