Migratory connectivity in a Newfoundland population of the American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)

Authors: Matthew G. DeSaix, Eileen B. Connell, Nandadevi Cortes-Rodr´ıguez, Kevin E. Omland, Peter
P. Marra, and Colin E. Studds

Year: 2022

Publication: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology

Publication Link: https://meridian.allenpress.com/wjo/article-abstract/134/3/381/484866/Migratory-connectivity-in-a-Newfoundland?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Keywords: annual cycle, conservation genetics, mitochondrial DNA, molecular genetics, Neotropical–Nearctic migrant

Abstract: Migratory tracking of genetically distinct populations can be used to develop conservation strategies that
prioritize the protection of unique genetic lineages across the annual cycle. In North America, the island of Newfoundland
harbors populations of numerous species that are genetically differentiated from populations in mainland North America. The
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is a widespread Neotropical migratory songbird that breeds across North America
and has a mitochondrial haplogroup unique to the Newfoundland breeding population. Stable-hydrogen isotope analyses
have broadly identified the Caribbean islands as the nonbreeding locations for American Redstarts breeding in northeastern
North America, but the specific nonbreeding sites for the Newfoundland breeding population remain unclear. The objective
of this study was to use mitochondrial haplogroups to elucidate nonbreeding locations of the Newfoundland population of the
American Redstart. We sampled 180 individuals from 9 locations across the Caribbean and sequenced the mitochondrial
control region. We identified 4 individuals with the Newfoundland haplogroup in Puerto Rico (n ¼ 3) and the Dominican
Republic (n ¼ 1). However, we primarily detected individuals with other haplogroups at these 2 nonbreeding sites. Our
results suggest that the Newfoundland breeding population of the American Redstart has a restricted nonbreeding range
(Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic) and mixes with individuals from other breeding populations at these sites. These
findings contribute to a better understanding of how American Redstart populations are connected across the annual cycle,
improving our understanding of population ecology and evolution.

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