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1 April 2011 Population Genetics and Effective Population Size of the Critically Endangered Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus Familiaris Kingi)
Jason A. Addison, Antony W. Diamond
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Many species endemic to isolated islands are of conservation interest because of concerns over the potentially devastating effects of environmental stochasticity and the pending threat of anthropogenic influences and invasive species. The effective size (Ne) of these species is a key parameter in their conservation because it predicts the detrimental effects of inbreeding or genetic drift and can be used to inform management plans. We used microsatellite allele frequencies (4 loci) and mtDNA (control region; cytochrome b) sequences to assess the genetic diversity and the effective number of breeders (Nb) in the Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi), a critically endangered passerine endemic to the northwest Hawaiian island of Nihoa. Using samples collected in 2007 and 2009, our results reveal extremely low levels of genetic diversity at both microsatellites and mtDNA, and both approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and sibship methods indicate that the effective number of breeders (Nb) for this species is between 5 and 13 individuals. Our analysis highlights the utility of ABC and sibship methods for estimating Ne in species with low genetic polymorphism or few loci. We compare our results to a recent genetic study of this species and document the loss of alleles at two microsatellite loci and one unique mtDNA haplotype. We discuss our findings in the context of the planned translocation of Nihoa Millerbirds from Nihoa to Laysan Island.

© 2011 by The American Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website,
Jason A. Addison and Antony W. Diamond "Population Genetics and Effective Population Size of the Critically Endangered Nihoa Millerbird (Acrocephalus Familiaris Kingi)," The Auk 128(2), 265-272, (1 April 2011).
Received: 16 June 2010; Accepted: 1 December 2010; Published: 1 April 2011
effective population size
endangered species
Nihoa Millerbird
population genetics
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