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3 July 2012 Continent-Scale Genetic Structure in a Boreal Forest Migrant, the Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)
Joel Ralston, Jeremy J. Kirchman
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We describe the range-wide phylogeography of Blackpoll Warblers (Setophaga striata), a migratory passerine with a broad breeding range in North America's boreal forest that encompasses several possible biogeographic barriers but shows no phenotypic geographic variation. We used mitochondrial control-region sequences from 304 individuals in combination with ecological niche models and coalescent simulations to test alternative historical hypotheses about the number of Pleistocene refugial populations and divergences among modern populations. Population pairwise FSTand spatial analyses of molecular variance suggested significant genetic structure among western, eastern, and Newfoundland populations, but no structure among sky-island populations at the southeastern periphery of the breeding range. Inferred gene flow fits a model of isolation-by-distance. Coalescent simulations rejected all multiple-refugia hypotheses in favor of a single refugium. Paleodistribution models and modern migratory pathways suggested that the refugium was located in southeastern North America. In contrast to previous studies that have invoked multiple Pleistocene refugia as the cause of genetic structure in North American bird species, our analyses suggest that geographic structure in Blackpoll Warblers results from isolation-by-distance rather than a history of sundered populations.

© The American Ornithologists' Union, 2012.
Joel Ralston and Jeremy J. Kirchman "Continent-Scale Genetic Structure in a Boreal Forest Migrant, the Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)," The Auk 129(3), 467-478, (3 July 2012).
Received: 23 November 2011; Accepted: 1 March 2012; Published: 3 July 2012
Blackpoll Warbler
boreal forest
Coalescent analysis
migratory birds
mitochondrial DNA
Pleistocene refugia
population genetics
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