New genetic approach to detecting individuals of rare and endangered species
MetadataShow full item record
Many rare and endangered species are difficult to locate, observe, and study. Consequently, many individuals, breeding pairs, and even populations of such species could remain undetected. Genetic markers can potentially be used to detect the existence of undiscovered individuals and populations, and we propose a method to do so that requires 3 conditions. First, sampling of the known population(s) of the target species must be comprehensive. Second, the species must display a reasonable level of philopatry and genetic structuring. Third, individual.,; must be able to be caught outside of breeding locations (e.g., at courtship or feeding areas, in flight), and the level of recapture must be reasonably high. We applied our method to the Chatham Island Taiko (Pterodroma magentae), one of the world's most endangered seabirds. We sequenced the Taiko mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and both copies of a fragment of the duplicated domain I of the control region. Twenty-one haplotypes were revealed, including 4 (19%) not found it? birds at known burrows. These results suggest there are more burrow groups yet to be located. The species is a pelagic gadfly petrel that inhabits land only in the breeding season during which it is nocturnal and nests in burrows. Taiko burrows are situated in dense forest in a remote area of Chatham Island, and are consequently difficult to locate and study. It is important that all Taiko burrows be discovered to enable monitoring and protection of the birds from exotic predators.