Data from: A longitudinal genetic survey identifies temporal shifts in the population structure of Dutch house sparrows
Cousseau, Laurence et al. (2016), Data from: A longitudinal genetic survey identifies temporal shifts in the population structure of Dutch house sparrows, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h138f
Dutch house sparrow (Passer domesticus) densities dropped by nearly 50% since the early 1980s, and similar collapses in population sizes have been reported across Europe. Whether, and to what extent, such relatively recent demographic changes are accompanied by concomitant shifts in the genetic population structure of this species needs further investigation. Therefore, we here explore temporal shifts in genetic diversity, genetic structure and effective sizes of seven Dutch house sparrow populations. To allow the most powerful statistical inference, historical populations were resampled at identical locations and each individual bird was genotyped using nine polymorphic microsatellites. Although the demographic history was not reflected by a reduction in genetic diversity, levels of genetic differentiation increased over time, and the original, panmictic population (inferred from the museum samples) diverged into two distinct genetic clusters. Reductions in census size were supported by a substantial reduction in effective population size, although to a smaller extent. As most studies of contemporary house sparrow populations have been unable to identify genetic signatures of recent population declines, results of this study underpin the importance of longitudinal genetic surveys to unravel cryptic genetic patterns.