Temporal variation in genetic structure within the threatened spectacled eider

  • Sarah SonsthagenEmail author
  • Christy Haughey
  • Matthew Sexson
  • Diana Solovyeva
  • Margaret Petersen
  • Abby Powell
Short Communication


We examined the genetic structure of the threatened spectacled eider 14–18 years after the initial assessment to evaluate the influence of population recovery on diversity. Concordant with the initial assessment, spectacled eiders were highly structured at mitochondrial (mt) DNA and lacked differentiation at microsatellite loci. The degree and spatial pattern of structure has changed at mtDNA; a 33.0–40.3% reduction in overall FST and ΦST, respectively, and a marked reduction in pairwise FST (− 83.1 to − 91.4%) among Alaska sites. Reduction in genetic structure is suggestive of increased female dispersal within Alaska. These findings highlight the importance of reevaluating genetic diversity as species recover from declines as microevolutionary and demographic processes are dynamic and continually shape associations among populations.


Population genetic structure Somateria fischeri Spectacled eider 



Funding was provided by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairbanks. Logistic and transportation to Chaun-Delta camp was provided by Chukotka Gold Mining Co. Blood samples were collected under USGS Alaska Science Center ACUC assurance plan code 2008-04. We thank the biologists and technicians who assisted with this project. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science CenterAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology and WildlifeUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Problems of the NorthFar East Branch of Russian Academy of SciencesMagadanRussia
  4. 4.U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  5. 5.U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Department of Wildlife and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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