A growing collection of mtDNA genetic information from waterfowl species across North America suggests that larger-bodied cavity-nesting species exhibit greater levels of population differentiation than smaller-bodied congeners. Although little is known about nest-cavity availability for these species, one hypothesis to explain differences in population structure is reduced dispersal tendency of larger-bodied cavity-nesting species due to limited abundance of large cavities. To investigate this hypothesis, we examined population structure of three cavity-nesting waterfowl species distributed across much of North America: Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), Common Goldeneye (B. clangula), and Bufflehead (B. albeola). We compared patterns of population structure using both variation in mtDNA control-region sequences and band-recovery data for the same species and geographic regions. Results were highly congruent between data types, showing structured population patterns for Barrow's and Common Goldeneye but not for Bufflehead. Consistent with our prediction, the smallest cavity-nesting species, the Bufflehead, exhibited the lowest level of population differentiation due to increased dispersal and gene flow. Results provide evidence for discrete Old and New World populations of Common Goldeneye and for differentiation of regional groups of both goldeneye species in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the eastern coast of North America. Results presented here will aid management objectives that require an understanding of population delineation and migratory connectivity between breeding and wintering areas. Comparative studies such as this one highlight factors that may drive patterns of genetic diversity and population trends.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 131 • No. 2