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An assessment of the genetic structure of an urban Cooper's hawk population

Duration

August 2015 - September 2019

Narrative

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been coordinating a study of the population ecology of an urban population of Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 2011, in collaboration with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and New Mexico State University. A major objective of the study is to develop a detailed understanding of the demography and population ecology of a model raptor population to obtain insights into the population ecology of harder to study species of management concern, such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). We now have rigorous empirical estimates of the number of occupied Cooper’s hawk nesting territories, reproductive success, survival rates, female dispersal, and spatially explicit estimates of prey density for each year of the study. We propose to undertake an analysis of genetic material and stable isotopes of feathers from the Albuquerque Cooper’s hawk study population to gain additional insights into their mating system, behavioral ecology, and population genetic structure. Important questions these analyses may help answer are: (1) what factors are associated with high rates of extra-pair paternity in Cooper’s hawks, and how those factors might affect individual fitness and population growth; (2) what is the frequency and potential source of immigrants into the Albuquerque study population; and (3) what is the phylogeographic relationship of this Cooper’s hawk population to others that have been genetically sampled. In addition, this study presents a valuable opportunity to compare and contrast genetic estimates of population attributes (e.g., estimates of paternity certainty and of effective population size) with direct measures obtained through banding and radio telemetry.

 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 15

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 25

Scientific Publications: 52

Presentations: 161

 

Personnel

  • James CainCo-Principal Investigator
  • Gary RoemerPrincipal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

Links

New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
  2. New Mexico State University
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey