Data from: Spatial heterogeneity in genetic relatedness among house sparrows along an urban-rural gradient as revealed by individual-based analysis
Cite this dataset
Vangestel, Carl et al. (2011). Data from: Spatial heterogeneity in genetic relatedness among house sparrows along an urban-rural gradient as revealed by individual-based analysis [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3q0d3rb4
Understanding factors that shape patterns of kinship in sedentary species is important for evolutionary ecologists as well as conservation biologists. Yet, how patterns of relatedness are hierarchically structured in space remains poorly known, even in common species. Here we use information from 16 polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers to study how small-scale kinship structure varies among house sparrows (Passer domesticus) along an urban-rural gradient. Average levels of relatedness were higher among urban individuals than among individuals from rural areas, suggesting lower rates of dispersal in more built up habitats. Comparison of observed levels of relatedness with simulated distributions of known kinship values showed that central urban individuals had the highest proportion of closely-related conspecifics in their immediate neighbourhood. Spatial auto-correlograms supported this small-scale genetic structure and further indicated stronger effects of genetic drift and/or limited dispersal in urban populations. Results of this study underscore the importance of individual-level analyses as a complementary approach to traditional population-level analyses when studying genetic population structure over small spatial scales.