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 22, 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 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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