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Avian Urban Ecology$
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Diego Gil and Henrik Brumm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199661572.001.0001

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Landscape genetics of urban bird populations

Landscape genetics of urban bird populations

(p.143) Chapter 11 Landscape genetics of urban bird populations
Avian Urban Ecology

Kathleen Semple Delaney

Oxford University Press

Urbanization causes habitat fragmentation, leaving only small patches of land suitable for wildlife. In particular, many terrestrial species, including birds, may find it difficult to cross urban structures and roads between habitat fragments. If these structures or roads act as barriers to dispersal, then decreased movement across the landscape can have potentially adverse effects. This chapter reviews studies on the consequences of decreased movement: an increase in genetic divergence between isolated populations and a decrease in genetic diversity within isolated populations. It shows that even mobile species such as birds can be genetically affected by urban sprawl and other anthropogenic habitat disturbances. In general, the studies that found significant and strong genetic structure focused on birds that had the most sedentary habits, such as the wrentit and great tit. But even where strong genetic effects of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation were not found, the most sedentary species were often most affected by urbanization. In addition to dispersal ability, the strength of genetic structuring was also associated with the type of intervening landscape. The studies showing the strongest effects not only had birds with decreased dispersal ability but the most intensive type of urbanization (i.e. cities and freeways).

Keywords:   birds, genetic changes, genetic diversity, habitat, avian populations, urban landscape, urbanization, population genetics, landscape genetics

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