Genetic parentage and local population structure in the socially monogamous Upland Sandpiper

TitleGenetic parentage and local population structure in the socially monogamous Upland Sandpiper
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCasey, AE, Sandercock, BK, Wisely, SM
Pagination119 -128
Accession NumberKNZ001337
KeywordsBartramia longicauda, dispersal, Extra-pair paternity, genetic structure, mating systems, natal philopatry, shorebirds, Upland Sandpiper

For a single lineage of birds, the diversity of mating systems and parental care among shorebirds (Charadrii) is high, which has made them an important group for investigations of the evolution of social mating systems. From 2003 to 2007, we studied a population of the Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) at Konza Prairie Biological Station in northeastern Kansas. Our objectives were to determine the genetic mating system of this socially monogamous shorebird and to determine whether spatial patterns of philopatry and nest placement might affect opportunities for extra-pair mating. We used six microsatellite markers to estimate rates of extra-pair paternity in 58 family groups (107 parents, 184 offspring). We found that 30% of broods contained extra-pair offspring, representing 15% of chicks, the highest rate of extra-pair paternity ever reported in a socially monogamous shorebird. High rates of extra-pair paternity were not due to the degree of relatedness between partners in mated pairs, and they did not result in greater diversity among broods with extra-pair young. We used a spatial genetic-autocorrelation analysis and found evidence for relatedness among females nesting <1 km apart. The Upland Sandpiper might have a high rate of extra-pair paternity because related females nest synchronously and in close proximity, but the probability of extra-pair young was not related to nest density or distance to nearest nest. Female-biased natal philopatry is unusual among birds but is consistent with the mate-defense mating system of the Upland Sandpiper.