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Gaps in genetic knowledge affect conservation management of kiwi (Apteryx) species

Citation

Undin, Malin; Castro, Isabel; Hills, Simon; Lockhart, Peter (2021), Gaps in genetic knowledge affect conservation management of kiwi (Apteryx) species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1vhhmgqrq

Abstract

Worldwide, there is growing appreciation of the importance of integrating genetic information into conservation management. However, there are commonly occurring problems which impact on doing this successfully. This issue is well illustrated by kiwi Apteryx species. Like many endangered taxa, extant kiwi populations are small, fragmented and isolated, raising concerns of potential inbreeding depression. Accordingly, kiwi conservation includes discussion of genetic management and translocations. To date, kiwi taxa have been the subject of 41 genetic studies. Here we provide the first synthesized review of these studies. We conclude that despite the impressive study effort, current understanding of kiwi genetics is insufficient to guide genetic management, predict translocation outcomes and manage biological diversity to achieve future sustainability of the species. We explain why, and outline research questions that can be addressed with new genome science technologies. Using new technologies to build on the foundation of work already undertaken, we see a great opportunity to address key issues for North Island Brown Kiwi Apteryx mantelli that are central to the conservation concerns for many threatened species. Specifically, we suggest that historical, disjunct, mainland populations combined with translocations of North Island Brown Kiwi to offshore islands have generated unique case studies to investigate the effects of fragmentation, cessation of gene flow, inbreeding, outbreeding and hybridization on biological diversity.

Methods

This is a compilation of all published mt DNA sequences from any Apteryx species

Funding

The Massey Foundation