Dispersal in a house sparrow metapopulation: An integrative case study of genetic assignment calibrated with ecological data and pedigree information
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMolecular Ecology. 2021, 30 4740-4756. 10.1111/mec.16083
Dispersal has a crucial role determining ecoevolutionary dynamics through both gene flow and population size regulation. However, to study dispersal and its consequences, one must distinguish immigrants from residents. Dispersers can be identified using telemetry, capture-mark-recapture (CMR) methods, or genetic assignment methods. All of these methods have disadvantages, such as high costs and substantial field efforts needed for telemetry and CMR surveys, and adequate genetic distance required in genetic assignment. In this study, we used genome-wide 200K Single Nucleotide Polymorphism data and two different genetic assignment approaches (GSI_SIM, Bayesian framework; BONE, network-based estimation) to identify the dispersers in a house sparrow (Passer domesticus) metapopulation sampled over 16 years. Our results showed higher assignment accuracy with BONE. Hence, we proceeded to diagnose potential sources of errors in the assignment results from the BONE method due to variation in levels of interpopulation genetic differentiation, intrapopulation genetic variation and sample size. We show that assignment accuracy is high even at low levels of genetic differentiation and that it increases with the proportion of a population that has been sampled. Finally, we highlight that dispersal studies integrating both ecological and genetic data provide robust assessments of the dispersal patterns in natural populations.