Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Mark P. Miller; Susan M. Haig; Eric D. Forsman; Robert G. Anthony; Lowell Diller; Katie M. Dugger; Alan B. Franklin; Tracy L. Fleming; Scott Gremel; Damon B. Lesmeister; Mark Higley; Dale R. Herter; Stan G. Sovern
    Date: 2018
    Source: The Auk. 135(4): 821-833.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (876.0 KB)

    Description

    Inbreeding has been difficult to quantify in wild populations because of incomplete parentage information. We applied and extended a recently developed framework for addressing this problem to infer inbreeding rates in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) across the Pacific Northwest, USA. Using pedigrees from 14,187 Northern Spotted Owls, we inferred inbreeding rates for 14 types of matings among relatives that produce pedigree inbreeding coefficients of F=0.25 or F=0.125. Inbreeding was most common in the Washington Cascades, where an estimated 15% of individuals are inbred. Inbreeding was lowest in western Oregon (3.5%) and northern California (2.7%), and intermediate for the Olympic Peninsula of Washington (6.1%). Estimates from the Olympic Peninsula were likely underestimates because of small sample sizes and the presence of few pedigrees capable of resolving inbreeding events. Most inbreeding resulted from matings between full siblings or half siblings, although a high rate of inbreeding from mother–son pairs was identified in the Olympic Peninsula. Geographic variation in inbreeding rates may reflect population declines and bottlenecks that have been detected in prior investigations. We show that there is strong selection against inbred birds. Only 3 of 44 inbred birds were later identified as parents (6.8%), whereas 2,823 of 10,380 birds that represented a comparable cross section of the data were later seen as reproducing parents (27.2%). Habitat loss and competition with Barred Owls (S. varia) remain primary threats to Northern Spotted Owls. However, given the negative consequences of inbreeding, Spotted Owl populations in Washington with suitable habitat and manageable numbers of Barred Owls may benefit from translocations of individuals from Oregon and California to introduce new genetic variation and reduce future inbreeding events.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Forsman, Eric D.; Anthony, Robert G.; Diller, Lowell; Dugger, Katie M.; Franklin, Alan B.; Fleming, Tracy L.; Gremel, Scott; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Higley, Mark; Herter, Dale R.; Sovern, Stan G. 2018. Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): Insights from over 30 years of monitoring data. The Auk. 135(4): 821-833. https://doi.org/10.1642/AUK-18-1.1.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Estimation, inbreeding, incomplete pedigree, missing data, Northern Spotted Owl, pedigree.

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/57099