Bell’s Vireo Conservation Genetics

Congrats to Luke Klicka who just published his MS thesis in Conservation Genetics. Luke studied genetic variation in the Bell’s Vireo across its range using both mtDNA sequences and a genome-wide analysis of SNP data. In the paper, he provides evidence that there are two distinct species of Bell’s Vireo, one in the eastern part of the range and one in the western part of the range. In addition, the samples of Least Bell’s Vireo subspecies included in the study were genetically distinct and formed their own clade. Thus, his paper provides the first evidence that this endangered subspecies is genetically distinct from other Bell’s Vireos. Collaborators on the project include Barbara Kus, who has worked with the Least Bell’s Vireo for years, and former Burns lab student Pascal Title, who added a niche modeling element to the paper.

Klicka, L. B.*, B. E. Kus, P. T. Title*, and K. J. Burns. in press. Conservation Genomics reveals multiple evolutionary units within Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii). Conservation Genetics. pdf

Bell's Vireo

Bell’s Vireo, Elephant Mountain, Texas, photo by S. Walsh

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