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Atlantic Puffin (1 Viewer)

Richard Klim

Gaston & Provencher 2012. A Specimen of the High Arctic Subspecies of Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica naumanni, in Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 126(1): 50–54. [abstract] [pdf]

[With thanks to Ron Pittaway for posting on NBHC ID-FRONTIERS.]

Fratercula arctica is usually treated as polytypic (eg, Harrison 1983, HBW, BNA Online, AERC TAC, H&M3, Zoonomen, IOC, Clements);
but is treated as monotypic by BOURC and Parkin & Knox 2010.


Will Jones
Oliver Kersten, Bastiaan Star, Deborah M. Leigh, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Hallvard Strøm, Jóhannis Danielsen, Sébastien Descamps, Kjell E. Erikstad, Michelle G. Fitzsimmons, Jérôme Fort, Erpur S. Hansen, Mike P. Harris, Martin Irestedt, Oddmund Kleven, Mark L. Mallory, Kjetill S. Jakobsen, Sanne Boessenkool 2020. Complex population structure of the Atlantic puffin revealed by whole genome analyses. BioRxiv
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.11.05.351874

The factors underlying gene flow and genomic population structure in vagile seabirds are notoriously difficult to understand due to their complex ecology with diverse dispersal barriers and extensive periods at sea. Yet, such understanding is vital for conservation management of seabirds that are globally declining at alarming rates. Here, we elucidate the population structure of the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) by assembling its reference genome and analyzing genome-wide resequencing data of 72 individuals from 12 colonies. We identify four large, genetically distinct clusters, observe isolation-by-distance between colonies within these clusters, and obtain evidence for a secondary contact zone. These observations disagree with the current taxonomy, and show that a complex set of contemporary biotic factors impede gene flow over different spatial scales. Our results highlight the power of whole genome data to reveal unexpected population structure in vagile marine seabirds and its value for seabird taxonomy, evolution and conservation.

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