Editors' ChoiceConservation Genomics

Essential immigrants

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Science  11 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6313, pp. 717-718
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6313.717-c

Connectivity is essential for sustaining endangered Florida scrub jays.


As more and more species near extinction, conservation efforts will need to understand the genetic structure and consequences of declining population size. Chen et al. document the negative effects of reduced population connectivity over multiple generations in the Florida scrub jay. Their 19-year data set demonstrates that, for the Florida scrub jay, immigration between small satellite populations into larger, more stable groups is an essential component for maintaining genetic diversity. The reduction in the number of individuals, and hence in the size of satellite populations and immigration, has resulted in increased levels of inbreeding and reduced fitness in this species, demonstrating the impact of habitat fragmentation.

Curr. Biol. 10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.062 (2016).

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