Publication details

Origin and genetic structure of white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in the Czech Republic: an analysis of breeding distribution, ringing data and DNA microsatellites



Year of publication 2007
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source European Journal of Wildlife Research
Keywords white-tailed sea eagle; microsatellite; ringing data; Haliaeetus albicilla; Czech Republic; Slovakia
Description The population of white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in the Czech Republic declined dramatically during the twentieth century. None were observed in the area for more than 60 years until population recoveries were observed beginning in the 1980s. It is currently estimated that 25 - 30 breeding pairs of whitetailed sea eagles nest in the Czech Republic. This article analyses surveillance data from three periods between 1973 and 2003 on the occurrence and nesting of white- tailed sea eagles in the Czech Republic. We investigated recolonization of European white- tailed sea eagles in the Czech Republic in terms of migration patterns and population structures. Bird ringing data suggest the Czech population may be recovered from various areas encompassing northern Europe. Using data collected by DNA microsatellite, no population structure was revealed through Bayesian and cluster analyses with an existing Hardy Weinberg equilibrium, which suggests mixed panmictic populations of white-tailed sea eagles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. While analysis of genetic diversity showed no difference between recovered populations in the southeastern Czech Republic and those persisting in Slovakia, there was genetic diversity between eagles of the southeastern subpopulation and eagles in other parts of the Czech Republic. Taken together, these observations on the population structure of white-tailed sea eagles in the Czech Republic imply that other European birds contributed to the recovery of the Czech population, likely through breeding mixture with an identifiable centre in the southeastern Czech Republic.

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