Two behavioural traits promote fine-scale species segregation and moderate hybridisation in a recovering sympatric fur seal population

Melanie Lancaster, Simon Goldsworthy, Paul Sunnucks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In systems where two or more species experience secondary contact, behavioural factors that regulate interspecific gene flow may be important for maintaining species boundaries and reducing the incidence of hybridisation. At subantarctic Macquarie Island, two species of fur seal breed in close proximity to one another, hybridise at very high levels (up to 21 of hybrid pups are born annually), yet retain discrete gene pools. Using spatial and genetic information collected for pups and adults over twelve years, we assessed two behavioural traits-inter-annual site fidelity and differences in habitat use between the species-as possible contributors to the maintenance of this species segregation. Further, we explored the breakdown of these traits in pure-species individuals and hybrids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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