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PLoS One. 2016 Feb 22;11(2):e0149834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149834. eCollection 2016.

Population Genetic Structure of the Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens (Aves, Suliformes) Breeding Colonies in the Western Atlantic Ocean.

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Departament of Genetics, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
Laboratório de Sistemática e Ecologia de Aves e Mamíferos Marinhos (LABSMAR), Departament of Zoology, Institute of Biosciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


The Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens has a pantropical distribution, nesting on islands along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In the Caribbean, there is little genetic structure among colonies; however, the genetic structure among the colonies off Brazil and its relationship with those in the Caribbean are unknown. In this study, we used mtDNA and microsatellite markers to infer population structure and evolutionary history in a sample of F. magnificens individuals collected in Brazil, Grand Connétable (French Guyana), and Barbuda. Virtually all Brazilian individuals had the same mtDNA haplotype. There was no haplotype sharing between Brazil and the Caribbean, though Grand Connétable shared haplotypes with both regions. A Bayesian clustering analysis using microsatellite data found two genetic clusters: one associated with Barbuda and the other with the Brazilian populations. Grand Connétable was more similar to Barbuda but had ancestry from both clusters, corroborating its "intermediate" position. The Caribbean and Grand Connétable populations showed higher genetic diversity and effective population size compared to the Brazilian population. Overall, our results are in good agreement with an effect of marine winds in isolating the Brazilian meta-population.

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