Inbreeding depression and founder diversity among captive and free-living populations of the endangered pink pigeon Columba mayeri
Swinnerton, K.J., Groombridge, J.J., Jones, C.G., Burn, R.W. and Mungroo, Y. (2004) Inbreeding depression and founder diversity among captive and free-living populations of the endangered pink pigeon Columba mayeri. Animal Conservation, 7 (4). pp. 353-364. ISSN 1367-9430
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1017/S1367943004001556
The endemic pink pigeon has recovered from less than 20 birds in the mid-1970s to 355 free-living individuals in 2003. A major concern for the species' recovery has been the potential genetic problem of inbreeding. Captive pink pigeons bred for reintroduction were managed to maximise founder representation and minimise inbreeding. In this paper, we quantify the effect of inbreeding on survival and reproductive parameters in captive and wild populations and quantify DNA sequence variation in the mitochondrial d-loop region for pink pigeon founders. Inbreeding affected egg fertility, squab, juvenile and adult survival, but effects were strongest in highly inbred birds (F≥0.25). Inbreeding depression was more apparent in free-living birds where even moderate levels of inbreeding affected survival, although highly inbred birds were equally compromised in both captive and wild populations. Mitochondrial DNA haplotypic diversity in pink pigeon founders is low, suggesting that background inbreeding is contributing to low fertility and depressed productivity in this species, as well as comparable survival of some groups of non-inbred and nominally inbred birds. Management of wild populations has boosted population growth and may be required long-term to offset the negative effects of inbreeding depression and enhance the species' survival.