Genetic indications of translocated and stocked grey partridges (Perdix perdix): does the indigenous Danish grey partridge still exist?
ABSTRACT Non-local population stocking can have adverse genetic effects on wild populations through loss of genetic diversity and introgressive hybridization. The grey partridge (Perdix perdix) has been an important European game species for centuries, widely subject to translocation and stocking. After c. 80 years of releasing reared grey partridges in Denmark, this study investigated whether an indigenous Danish grey partridge still existed. If so, they would (1) belong to the western European clade (W1) and (2) be more closely related to the historical, indigenous grey partridges than to farm-bred partridges. These predictions were tested by analysing the variation in both the mitochondrial control region (CR1) and microsatellite markers in museum samples representing the ancestral indigenous Danish grey partridge, contemporary wild grey partridges and farmed grey partridges from the five largest farms in Denmark. Phylogeography and population structure analyses showed traces of the indigenous Danish grey partridges amongst recent wild partridges in certain areas and significant genetic differences between farmed partridges and historical and recent partridges. The results also showed that the indigenous Danish grey partridges belonged to the western European clade (W1 haplotype). A foreign stocking effect was detected on the remote island of Bornholm, where the current population originated from introduced Danish and Bohemian grey partridges. The loss of haplotype diversity over time in certain geographical areas probably results from serious declines in wild Danish grey partridge numbers in recent decades. This, combined with the observation that hybridization between released stocked and wild partridges can occur, may complicate recovery of partridge populations. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 105, 694–710.
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ABSTRACT: Birds express various secondary ornaments that can indicate individual condition and health. Amongst these, red-coloured carotenoid-based ornaments are supposed to be particularly valuable predictors of individual quality, due to their sensitivity to oxidative stress. Nevertheless, melanin-pigmented traits might also signal health and immune functions. Both types of ornaments may be either skin-based or feather-based, each differing in their dynamics. In the present study, we compared the health- and stress-indicating capacity of melanin-based feather ornamentation and putatively carotenoid-based skin ornamentation in a single species—the Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix), a vulnerable avian species of the European agricultural landscape. In captive males, we firstly verified the carotenoid content of the red-coloured skin tissue behind the eye by chromatography (HPLC). Secondly, we assessed the individual health status of all males by examining differential leukocyte count, the frequency of immature erythrocytes, malaria prevalence and proinflammatory immune responsiveness to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). Both the size of the melanin-based ornament and red chroma of the carotenoid-based ornament were related to the heterophil:lymphocyte (H/L) ratio. Hence, in the Grey Partridge, both redness of the skin ornament and area of the feather ornament may serve as honest indicators of individual health and long-term stress. However, the two ornamental components were unrelated to each other, and the directions of their association to the H/L ratio were opposite. We therefore propose that, in this species, larger melanin-based feather ornamentation size is linked to higher levels of stress (possibly caused by more intensive social interactions with other males), while the level of expression of the carotenoid-based skin ornamentation more reliably signals actual individual health status. Our results are potentially valuable from the perspective of Grey Partridge conservation efforts, as they indicate a simple method for assessing individual quality in this species.Journal of Ornithology 01/2013; · 1.63 Impact Factor