The decline of the Turtle Dove: dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed using high throughput sequencing

Dunn, Jenny and Stockdale, Jennifer E. and Moorhouse-Gann, Rosemary J. and McCubbin, Alexandra and Hipperson, Helen and Morris, Antony J. and Grice, Philip V. and Symondson, William O. C. (2018) The decline of the Turtle Dove: dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed using high throughput sequencing. Molecular Ecology, 27 (16). pp. 3386-3407. ISSN 0962-1083

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14766

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The decline of the Turtle Dove: Dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed using high‐throughput sequencing
Open Access: Dunn JC, Stockdale JE, Moorhouse‐Gann RJ, et al. The decline of the Turtle Dove: Dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed using high‐throughput sequencing. Mol Ecol. 2018;27:3386–3407. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14766
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Abstract

Dietary changes linked to the availability of anthropogenic food resources can have complex implications for species and ecosystems, especially when species are in decline. Here, we use recently developed primers targeting the ITS2 region of plants to characterise diet from faecal samples of four UK columbids, with particular focus on the European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), a rapidly declining obligate granivore. We examine dietary overlap between species (potential competition), associations with body condition in turtle doves, and spatiotemporal variation in diet. We identified 143 taxonomic units, of which we classified 55% to species, another 34% to genus and the remaining 11% to family. We found significant dietary overlap between all columbid species, with the highest between turtle doves and stock doves (Columba oenas), then between turtle doves and woodpigeons (Columba palumbus). The lowest overlap was between woodpigeons and collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto). We show considerable change in columbid diets compared to previous studies, probably reflecting opportunistic foraging behaviour by columbids within a highly anthropogenically-modified landscape, although our data for non-turtle doves should be considered preliminary. Nestling turtle doves in better condition had a higher dietary proportion of taxonomic units from natural arable plant species, and a lower proportion of taxonomic units from anthropogenic food resources such as garden bird seed mixes and brassicas. This suggests that breeding ground conservation strategies for turtle doves should include provision of anthropogenic seeds for adults early in the breeding season, coupled with habitat rich in accessible seeds from arable plants once chicks have hatched.

Keywords:anthropogenic food resources, dietary switching, ITS2, high throughput sequencing, molecular analysis of diet, next-generation sequencing, wildlife management
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C440 Molecular Genetics
C Biological Sciences > C310 Applied Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C410 Applied Genetics
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:30309
Deposited On:07 Mar 2018 09:39

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