Elucidating the factors underlying the origin and maintenance of genetic variation among populations is crucial for our understanding of their ecology and evolution, and also to help identify conservation priorities. While intrinsic movement has been hypothesized as the major determinant of population genetic structuring in abundant vagile species, growing evidence indicates that vagility does not always predict genetic differentiation. This exhaustive review of the theoretical and empirical literature investigates the determinants of population genetic differentiation using seabirds as a model system for vagile taxa. In light of our results, we recommend that genetic studies should consider potential historical events when identifying determinants of genetic differentiation among populations to avoid overestimating the role of contemporary factors.
Our study provides an insight into the underlying mechanisms of population genetic differentiation in highly mobile species and corroborates previous studies indicating that movement capacities are not always good predictors.
Correlations between genetic structure, historical and abiotic processes and phenotypic variation observed in this study for a large group of vagile predators should be investigated using other types of mobile organisms as they can inform the origin and maintenance of genetic barriers among populations and species.Dr Anicee Lombal, PhD
Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2020 Feb 5. Epub 2020 Feb 5.
Discipline of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia.
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