UBC Research Data

Data for: Are immigrants outbred and unrelated? Testing standard assumptions in a wild metapopulation Dickel, Lisa; Arcese, Peter; Nietlisbach, Pirmin; Keller, Lukas; Reid, Jane



Immigration into small recipient populations is expected to alleviate inbreeding and increase genetic variation, and hence facilitate population persistence through genetic and/or evolutionary rescue. Such expectations depend on three standard assumptions: that immigrants are outbred, unrelated to existing natives at arrival, and unrelated to each other. These assumptions are rarely explicitly verified, including in key field systems in evolutionary ecology. Yet, they could be violated due to non-random or repeated immigration from adjacent small populations. We combined molecular genetic marker data for 150-160 microsatellite loci with comprehensive pedigree data to test the three assumptions for a song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) population that is a model system for quantifying effects of inbreeding and immigration in the wild. Immigrants were less homozygous than existing natives on average, with mean homozygosity that closely resembled outbred natives. Immigrants can therefore be considered outbred on the focal population scale. Comparisons of homozygosity of real or hypothetical offspring of immigrant-native, native-native and immigrant-immigrant pairings implied that immigrants were typically unrelated to existing natives and to each other. Indeed, immigrants’ offspring would be even less homozygous than outbred individuals on the focal population scale. The three standard assumptions of population genetic and evolutionary theory were consequently largely validated. Yet, our analyses revealed some deviations that should be accounted for in future analyses of heterosis and inbreeding depression, implying that the three assumptions should be verified in other systems to probe patterns of non-random or repeated dispersal and facilitate precise and unbiased estimation of key evolutionary parameters.

; Methods

Data for ‘Are immigrants outbred and unrelated? Testing standard assumptions in a wild metapopulation’
Dickel et al., Molecular Ecology, 2021

These data come from the long-term song sparrow field study on Mandarte Island, BC, Canada (latitude 48.6329°, longitude -123.2859°). The data provided here are sufficient to replicate the analyses presented in the above paper, and are therefore a restricted subset of the full Mandarte dataset.

Full methods of data assembly and analyses are in the main paper. See also Nietlisbach et al., 2017, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

; Usage notes

Each row in the dataset relates to one individual.

Key to variables:

"id" - individual identifier for each individual
"prop_homoz" - proportion of loci at which the individual is homozygous
"immigrant" - binary variable indicating if the individual is an immigrant or not
"parent immigrant" - binary variable indicating if the individual has an immigrant parent
"immigratedness" - categorical variable indicating the immigration status
"year.appearance" - indicating when the individual entered in the population. Either arrival of immigrants or hatching for Mandarte hatched individuals
columns titled "Sosp" - ending with 'a or 'b'  - microsatellites
"fcoef" - coefficient of inbreeding (pedigree based)
"main_dataset - binary variable indicating if the individual was included in the main analyses (dependent on the number of loci genotyped)
"adult_dataset" - binary variable indicating if the individual survived to adulthood

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