Genetic variation in Black Grouse populations with different lekking systems in the Czech Republic

Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Journal of Ornithology 01/2011; 152(1):37-44. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-010-0543-7


Here, we describe genetic diversity of lekking and non-lekking populations of Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix in the mountains bordering the Czech Republic. In total, 250 individuals from eight lekking and eight non-lekking study sites
were genotyped at 11 microsatellite loci. Significant pair-wise F
ST values between the different regions indicated low dispersal between localities, and birds could be assigned to three main
mountain ranges (Šumava Mts, Krkonoše Mts and Krušné Mts). We found lower genetic diversity at study sites with solitary displaying
males compared to sites where birds aggregate at leks. Additionally, genetic diversity was significantly more strongly associated
with type of display than with spatial location of the sites. Given that lekking behaviour may be related to population density,
we suggest that a shift from lekking to solitary displaying males is an alarming sign for conservationists indicating decreasing
effective population sizes and declining populations.

KeywordsBlack Grouse–Conservation–Lekking–Microsatellites–
Tetrao tetrix

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