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Possibly the simplest but most essential molecular analyses required for conservation of your Northern Spotted Owl was to define its taxonomic status (Fig. three). There were millions of dollars of timber, jobs, and also other sources riding on determining the limits of its range. Thus, it was crucial to identify if there were 1? species or subspecies to be regarded as for protection beneath the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In two research (B) using three markers (mtDNA, microsatellites, and RAPDs), we located agreement for 3 subspecies: Northern (S. o. caurina), California (S. o. occidentalis), and Mexican (S. o. lucida) with evidence for subspecies hybridization where taxa met geographically (Haig et al. 2001, 2004a,b). The problem of intraspecific Northern-California Spotted Owl hybrids difficult conservation action plans mainly because the ESA only addresses difficulties for hybrids in captive scenarios (O'Brien and Mayr 1991). This became a larger concern when we identified proof that Northern Spotted Owls have been hybridizing with Barred Owls (Strix varia) that were speedily expanding their variety in to the Pacific Northwest. Not figuring out how comprehensive this hybridization may be, we developed mtDNA, microsatellite, and AFLP markers to differentiate these taxa for use by law enforcement laboratories (Haig et al. 2004a,b; Funk et al. 2006, 2008a). Even immediately after the markers were developed, there was title= fpsyg.2014.00726 a legal conundrum as to ways to handle a bird that looked like an ESA-protected Northern Spotted Owl but genetically was a Barred Owl/Northern Spotted Owl hybrid. A little-used clause in the ESA (section four(e)) offered a prospective solution (Haig and Allendorf 2006). This `similarity of appearance' clause delivers protection for species that happen to be not listed but closely resemble an ESA-listed species. Understanding the genetic status of Northern Spotted Owls was the following critical step. We began by taking a landscape genetics approach (Manel and Holdregger 2013) whereby we could examine the partnership between a random distribution Figure 3 (A) Northern Spotted Owl female and two older chicks of genes with a random distribution of geographic points (photo by Sheila Whitmore), (B) Distribution of sample web sites inside the across the range of the Northern Spotted Owl (Funk et al. array of the Northern Spotted Owl (from Funk et al. 2010) (Box three). 2008b). We didn't find important breaks in gene flow but we did locate restrictions in gene flow in features like the Cascade and Coast Range mountains also as dry river valleys (Fig. three). A closer investigation into restricted gene flow indicated that Northern Spotted Owls all round had probably undergone a substantial recent population bottleneck (Funk et al. 2010). The outcomes have been precisely the same when analyses were broken down by region (e.g., Cascade Mountains, Olympic peninsula, etc.) and local populations. The bottleneck signature was strongest for owls within the Washington Cascades, an location recognized to be experiencing a significant population decline (Forsman et al. 2011). In fact, when we compared our bottleneck results title= jir.2014.0026 for local populations with population development prices for the 14 demographic study regions monitored over the previous 20+ years, there was a robust correlation involving a significant population bottleneck and significant decline in lambda (population development rate) (Funk et al.

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