Hatching failure and population bottlenecks A resource provided

Hatching failure and population bottlenecks A resource provided

Hatching failure and population bottlenecks A resource provided by Science Outreach at the University of Canterbury www.outreach,canterbury.ac.nz Population bottlenecks in birds and hatching failure

Based on the following study: Hatching failure increases with severity of population bottlenecks in birds. by James V. Briskie and Myles Mackintosh Habitat destruction, exploitation and introduction of exotic predators are causing populations of birds to decrease in number.

One of the unspoilt regions of New Zealand in the Chatham Islands (Rangatira Island) New Zealand Black Robin (found only in the Chatham Islands) Before the 1870s there was a diverse Black Robin population..... Before the 1870s there was a diverse

Black Robin population..... The introduction of rats and cats to New Zealand The introduction of rats and cats to New Zealand reduced the population of Black Robins to only a few individuals The introduction of rats and cats to New Zealand reduced the population of Black

Robins to only a few individuals this is a genetic bottleneck ...when the population later recovered, due to conservation efforts, the genetic diversity is reduced. ...when the population later recovered, due to conservation efforts, the genetic diversity is reduced.

As a population decreases in size, a lot of genetic diversity is lost. As a population decreases in size, a lot of genetic diversity is lost. time As a population decreases in size, a lot of genetic diversity is lost.

this is a genetic bottleneck time As a population decreases in size, a lot of genetic diversity is lost. time ..when the population recovers, the population is not as genetically diverse as the original

population. The smaller the size of the genetic bottleneck the more in-breeding occurs, and there is even less genetic diversity in the new population. The smaller the size of the genetic bottleneck the more in-breeding occurs, and there is even less genetic diversity in the new population. time

When a group of birds is relocated far from its source population, When a group of birds is relocated far from its source population, it is similar to a genetic bottleneck. When a group of birds is relocated far from its source population, it is similar to a genetic bottleneck.

The founder population is not as genetically diverse as the source population. SOURCE population When the new population recovers in the new area it is not as genetically

diverse as the source Lower genetic diversity in a population may result in fitness costs and decrease population survival. Scientists check the fitness of Black Robins on Rangatira Island A group of birds, like the Kakapo, are

relocated to a predator-free NZ island to increase the numbers of these endangered birds. A group of birds, like the Kakapo, are relocated to a predator-free NZ

island to increase the numbers of these endangered birds. Only about half the eggs that survive incubation successfully hatch. ...similar problems have been observed in the Black Robin (the population was reduced to

one breeding pair). The Black Robin population is now over 200. Successfully hatched Black Robin chicks To investigate the effect of genetic bottleneck size on hatching failure in birds, data was collected from a variety of sources and treated with

statistics and log transformed. figure 1 Native New Zealand birds Increase in hatching failure with increasing severity of population bottleneck in 22 Native New Zealand birds. Open circle shows mean hatching failure in 15 species that did not pass through a bottleneck.

figure 1 Native New Zealand birds Increase in hatching failure with increasing severity of population bottleneck in 22 Native New Zealand birds. Open circle shows mean hatching failure in 15 species that did not pass through a bottleneck. Hatching failure increased when bottlenecks dropped figure

2 Bird species introduced to NZ Increase in hatching failure of 15 introduced species with decreased numbers of individuals released by the 19th century New Zealand acclimatization societies. Open circle shows mean hatching failure in the same species in their native range. figure 3

Bird species introduced to NZ Increase in differences in rate of hatching failure between each introduced population in New Zealand (postbottleneck) and their source (prebottleneck) for 15 species of introduced birds with data in both localities. Positive values indicate that hatching failure is greater in the introduced populations. The smaller bottleneck size caused more hatching failure

compared to the source population in their native habitat Positive values indicate that hatching failure is greater in the introduced populations. Read the information on the worksheet, study the graphs and answer the questions.

1. Explain how the bottleneck occurred in the Black Robin population of New Zealand. 2. Explain the trend shown in figures 1 and 2. 3. Explain the trend shown in figure 3. 4. Why would this study be useful to conservationists in New Zealand and worldwide? ANSWERS Q

Achievement 1 Black Robin population decreased due to introduced predators to NZ or the Chatham

Islands (or examples such as cats & rats). Achievement with Merit (Achieved plus) A smaller population means a smaller or decreased gene pool / less genetic

diversity for the future / breeding population/ s. Achievement with Excellence Q 2

Achievement The smaller the bottleneck size or introduced population size, the greater the % hatching failure. OR As the population bottleneck size (in fig.

1) decreases, % hatching failure increases. AND As the size of the introduced population (in fig. 2) decreases, % hatching failure increases. Achievement with Merit

(Achieved plus) A smaller population bottleneck size in the native birds means there is less genetic diversity / a smaller gene pool available for future generations. AND A smaller population size of introduced birds means

a smaller founder population and therefore a smaller gene pool / lower genetic diversity available for future generations. (or similar) Achievement with Excellence (Merit plus)

Bird populations that breed from a small starter population or go through a bottleneck have lower genetic diversity which can result in the expression of unfavourable genes which could result in hatching failure.

Q Achievement 3 The smaller the number of the original introduced population, the greater the

difference in hatching failure between the introduced birds and its source population. Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence

(Achieved plus) (Merit plus) The smaller introduced population has a smaller gene pool / lower genetic diversity / more

inbreeding and therefore greater hatching failure compared to its source population. The introduced population of birds are also out of their native habitat / range and have

different environmental conditions which may also induce more hatching failure. Q Achievement

4 When trying to protect bird populations by transferring groups to other areas or islands conservationists can see from this study that a founder population of less than 150 individuals will result in

a high percentage of hatching failure. Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence (Achieved plus) (Merit plus)

New Zealand conservationists repopulate areas with about 40 individuals which this study shows to be not a big enough group to avoid a high % hatching failure. Conservationists in NZ

and worldwide need to change their conservation practises and use larger founder populations (>150) to avoid widespread reproductive failure and possible extinction of endangered bird species. AND

A review of worldwide bird relocations showed that 72% used less than 75 individuals. This will result in high % of hatching failure. Acknowledgements University of Canterbury Science Outreach and School of Biological Sciences.

Kakapo photo by :Markus Nolf This resource was made possible through funding from the Canterbury Community Trust and the Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust

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