Article: article from journal or magazin.
Genotyping faeces reveals facultative kin association on capercaillie's leks
The role that kin selection might play in the evolution of lekking in birds remains controversial. Recent molecular data suggest that males displaying on leks are related. Here we investigated the genetic structure and pattern of relatedness on leks of a declining population of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) using microsatellite genetic markers. Since the species is highly sensitive to disturbance, we adopted a non-invasive method by using faecal samples collected in the field. Based on a dataset of 50 males distributed in 6 sub-populations, we found significant genetic structuring among sub-populations, and a significant pattern of isolation by distance among leks. Estimates of relatedness showed that males displaying on the same lek were related, even when controlling for the effects of genetical differentiation among sub-populations. In addition, the frequency distribution of relatedness values indicated that leks contain a mixture of close kin and unrelated individuals (34 and 66%, respectively). This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that leks often contain kin associations, which might be due to very restricted dispersal of some of the males or to joint dispersal of kin. The results are discussed with respect to their implication for the conservation of endangered populations.
capercaillie, genetic structure, lek mating system, non-invasive sampling, microsatellites, relatedness
Web of science
Last modification date