The relationship between population structure and demographic history is critical to understanding microevolutionand for predicting the resilience of species to environmental change. Using mitochondrial DNA from extant coloniesand radiocarbon-dated subfossils, we present the first microevolutionary analysis of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) and show their population trends throughout the last glacial maximum (LGM, 19.5–16 kya) and during thesubsequent period of warming and sea ice retreat. We found evidence for three mitochondrial clades within emperorpenguins, suggesting that they were isolated within three glacial refugia during the LGM. One of these clades hasremained largely isolated within the Ross Sea, while the two other clades have intermixed around the coast of Antarc-tica from Adelie Land to the Weddell Sea. The differentiation of the Ross Sea population has been preserved despiterapid population growth and opportunities for migration. Low effective population sizes during the LGM, followedby a rapid expansion around the beginning of the Holocene, suggest that an optimum set of sea ice conditions existfor emperor penguins, corresponding to available foraging area.
"Female western bluebirds that have to compete for nesting sites produce more early-hatching male chicks than do females with fewer competitors. The chicks are also likely to be more aggressive."
"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment... and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."
- Henry David Thoreau
- University of KonstanzPostdoctoral Researcher, 2014 - present
- Max Planck Institute for OrnithologyPostdoctoral Researcher, 2012 - 2014
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