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Type: Journal article
Title: Multiple mating strategies explain unexpected genetic mixing of New Zealand fur seals with two congenerics in a recently recolonized population
Author: Lancaster, M.
Goldsworthy, S.
Sunnucks, P.
Citation: Molecular Ecology, 2007; 16(24):5267-5276
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 0962-1083
Statement of
Melanie L. Lancaster, Simon D. Goldsworthy, and Paul Sunnucks
Abstract: Human impacts on natural systems can cause local population extinctions, which may promote redistribution of taxa and secondary contact between divergent lineages. In mammalian populations that have mating systems shaped by polygyny and sexual selection, the potential for hybridization to ensue and persist depends on individual and demographic factors. At Macquarie Island, a recently formed fur seal population is comprised of both sexes of breeding Antarctic (Arctocephalus gazella) and subantarctic (A. tropicalis) fur seals, and an itinerant collection of male New Zealand fur seals (A. forsteri), presumed to be non-breeders due to their absence from principle breeding areas. The mating system of the three species is described as resource-defence polygyny: males defend beach territories containing breeding females for exclusive mating rights. A recent genetic study identified a high level of hybridization in the population (17–30%), unexpectedly involving all three species. This study examined the source of involvement in breeding by A. forsteri with respect to mating strategies operating in the population. Ninety-five (10%) pups born from 1992 to 2003 were genetically identified as New Zealand hybrids. Most resulted from reproduction within territories by New Zealand hybrids of both sexes, although some were conceived extra-territorially, indicating that males successfully utilize strategies other than territory holding to achieve paternities. Female reproductive status influenced mating partner and mating location, and females without pups were more likely to conceive extra-territorially and with A. forsteri males. This study illustrates an important consequence of low heterospecific discrimination in a sympatric population of long-lived mammals.
Keywords: Animals
Fur Seals
Marine Biology
Population Dynamics
New Zealand
Sexual Behavior, Animal
Description: The definitive version is available at
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03586.x
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute publications

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