Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Mixed genes appear to drive hybrid birds to select more difficult routes than their parent species, according to new research. "Instead of taking well-trodden paths through fertile areas, these birds choose to scale mountains and cross deserts," says one of the researchers.

A captured Swainson's thrush is wearing a geolocator.
Credit: Kira Delmore, University of British Columbia.

Mixed genes appear to drive hybrid birds to select more difficult routes than their parent species, according to new research from University of British Columbia zoologists.

Related Articles


"Instead of taking well-trodden paths through fertile areas, these birds choose to scale mountains and cross deserts," says UBC researcher Kira Delmore.

Delmore harnessed a flock of B.C. Swainson's thrushes with tiny geolocating backpacks to map their routes as they migrated south through the U.S. to Central and South America.

Many of the hybrid thrushes chose intermediary migration routes situated between the paths of their parent populations, regardless of how challenging the route may be. It's the first time researchers have gathered detailed data mapping the routes of free-flying hybrids and their parent populations. The study was published in Ecology Letters.

"The association between mixed genetic background and mixed migratory routes implies that there is strong genetic control of migratory behaviour," says Darren Irwin, a professor in UBC's Dept. of Zoology and senior author of the study. "These thrushes will allow us to actually look for the genes responsible for migratory behaviour."

In many cases, hybridization can cause populations that are separated to collapse into a single form.

"In this case, where hybrids might well be surviving at lower rates, this may not happen," says Delmore. "The self-destructive behavior of hybrids could be helping to maintain the great diversity of songbirds we enjoy."

Background

Researcher Kira Delmore attached geolocation devices -- which record sunrise and sunset times -- on the birds with harnesses. She collected the data a year later, downloading the information and inferring latitude and longitude from the recorded sunrise and sunset times.

Swainson's thrushes -- with olive-brown feathers, lighter mottled undersides, and distinct light eye-rings -- are typically 16 to 20 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 30 cm. They are not endangered. The geolocators weighed 0.9 g with attachment materials, approximately 4 per cent of the body weight of a thrush.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEVeGx7Gzuo


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kira E. Delmore, Darren E. Irwin. Hybrid songbirds employ intermediate routes in a migratory divide. Ecology Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12326

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722102245.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2014, July 22). Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722102245.htm
University of British Columbia. "Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722102245.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins