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Possibly the simplest but most vital molecular analyses necessary for conservation with the Northern Spotted Owl was to define its taxonomic status (Fig. There had been millions of dollars of timber, jobs, and other sources riding on figuring out the limits of its range. Therefore, it was crucial to determine if there have been 1? species or subspecies to be regarded for protection below the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In two research (B) using 3 markers (mtDNA, microsatellites, and RAPDs), we found agreement for three 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 situation of intraspecific Northern-California Spotted Owl hybrids difficult conservation action plans for the reason that the ESA only addresses challenges for hybrids in captive conditions (O'Brien and Mayr 1991). This became a bigger concern when we identified proof that Northern Spotted Owls were hybridizing with Barred Owls (Strix varia) that had been swiftly expanding their variety in to the Pacific Northwest. Not recognizing how comprehensive this hybridization might be, we created 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 right after the markers were created, there was title= fpsyg.2014.00726 a legal conundrum as to tips on how to deal with 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 inside the ESA (section four(e)) provided a potential resolution (Haig and Allendorf 2006). This `similarity of appearance' clause delivers protection for species which can be not listed but closely resemble an ESA-listed species. Understanding the genetic status of Northern Spotted Owls was the following vital step. We began by taking a landscape genetics method (Manel and Holdregger 2013) whereby we could examine the connection in between a random distribution Figure three (A) Northern Spotted Owl female and two older chicks of genes having a random distribution of geographic points (photo by Sheila Whitmore), (B) Distribution of sample web-sites in the across the array of the Northern Spotted Owl (Funk et al. array of the Northern Spotted Owl (from Funk et al. 2010) (Box three). 2008b). We did not come across substantial breaks in gene flow but we did obtain 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 overall had likely undergone a significant recent population bottleneck (Funk et al. 2010). The outcomes have been exactly the same when analyses had been broken down by area (e.g., Cascade Mountains, Olympic peninsula, etc.) and nearby populations. The bottleneck signature was strongest for owls within the Washington Cascades, an region known to become experiencing a important population decline (Forsman et al. 2011). In actual fact, when we compared our bottleneck results title= jir.2014.0026 for neighborhood populations with population development prices for the 14 demographic study locations monitored more than the previous 20+ years, there was a strong correlation involving a important population bottleneck and important decline in lambda (population growth price) (Funk et al.

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