Karine Monceau PhD thesis

Population biology of Zenaida doves from Barbados. Contribution of molecular tool

supervisors: Frank Cézilly and François-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont

ministry of research grant

Begininng of the thesis: october 2006

Defended the 21 december 2009



So far, no molecular tool was available in Zenaida dove, Zenaida aurita (with the exception of mitochondrial sequence data). In order to sex both adults and juveniles, and to estimate the genetic diversity of birds, sex markers and microsatellites have each been tested and developed. Thus, through using these tools, and with the support of morphometric data collected during banding, it has become possible to address a set of questions about population biology of Zenaida doves in Barbados.

We first quantified the extent of sexual dimorphism in this species. Unlike other species, the use of morphometric data alone is not efficient to assign individuals to one sex or the other with enough precision, whereas this becomes possible with molecular sexing. We then replicated a previous study on resource polymorphism in Zenaida doves in Barbados, adding the use of molecular method. Contrary to previous claim, our data do not support the existence of a resource polymorphism, as currently defined in the literature, differences between the two studies being partly attributable to differences in sexing techniques (phenotypic vs. genetic markers)). Finally, we looked at the relationship between genotype, via the level of heterozygosity, and phenotypic fitness, measured by fluctuating asymmetry, foraging strategy and age. Only juvenile survival appeared to be related to the level of heterozygosity. However, we only obtained indirect evidence for this phenomenon, and direct estimation of survival (through capture-mark-recapture data) should help in confirming the observed trend.

Overall, the use of microsatellite markers opens interesting perspectives in population genetics for Zenaida doves. However, for some particular considerations, the development of selected markers, such as MHC (major histocompatibility complex), should be considered.



Ecology, Evolution, Zenaida aurita, genetic, morphometry, resource polymorphism, fitness, fluctuating asymmetry, heterozygosity



Loïc Bollache, université de Bourgogne – president
Dominique Allainé, université Lyon I – reviewer
Philipp Heeb, université Toulouse III – reviewer
Olivier Dehorter, CRBPO – examiner
Frank Cézilly, université de Bourgogne – supervisor
François-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont, université de Bourgogne – supervisor
Lyndon John, Forestry Department of Saint Lucia – guest member