Little information is available on the patterns of genetic connectivity in owls. We studied the genetic structure of the eagle owl Bubo bubo (Linnaeus, 1758) in southeastern Spain at two different spatial scales. Seven microsatellites previously described for this species were used, although only six loci amplified correctly. The observed low genetic variation could be explained by the short dispersal distance, high mortality rate and high degree of monogamy shown by this large nocturnal predator. As expected, the highest genetic isolation was detected in the geographically most isolated population. Significant genetic differentiation was found among study units separated by less than 50 km. The territorial analysis showed interesting connectivity patterns related with the gene flow and turnover rate of the breeding individuals. The lowest genetic diversity was found in the region with the largest population, which could imply incipient inbreeding.
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Vol. 61 • No. 1