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Title: Comparing multiple criteria for species identification in two recently diverged seabirds
Author: Militão, T.
Gómez Díaz, Elena
Kaliontzopoulou, A.
González-Solís, Jacob
Keywords: Ocells marins
Genètica animal
Sea birds
Animal genetics
Issue Date: 26-Dec-2014
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Correct species identification is a crucial issue in systematics with key implications for prioritising conservation effort. However, it can be particularly challenging in recently diverged species due to their strong similarity and relatedness. In such cases, species identification requires multiple and integrative approaches. In this study we used multiple criteria, namely plumage colouration, biometric measurements, geometric morphometrics, stable isotopes analysis (SIA) and genetics (mtDNA), to identify the species of 107 bycatch birds from two closely related seabird species, the Balearic (Puffinus mauretanicus) and Yelkouan (P. yelkouan) shearwaters. Biometric measurements, stable isotopes and genetic data produced two stable clusters of bycatch birds matching the two study species, as indicated by reference birds of known origin. Geometric morphometrics was excluded as a species identification criterion since the two clusters were not stable. The combination of plumage colouration, linear biometrics, stable isotope and genetic criteria was crucial to infer the species of 103 of the bycatch specimens. In the present study, particularly SIA emerged as a powerful criterion for species identification, but temporal stability of the isotopic values is critical for this purpose. Indeed, we found some variability in stable isotope values over the years within each species, but species differences explained most of the variance in the isotopic data. Yet this result pinpoints the importance of examining sources of variability in the isotopic data in a case-by-case basis prior to the cross-application of the SIA approach to other species. Our findings illustrate how the integration of several methodological approaches can help to correctly identify individuals from recently diverged species, as each criterion measures different biological phenomena and species divergence is not expressed simultaneously in all biological traits.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2014, vol. 9, num. 12, p. e115650
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ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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