Current changes in climate as well as human activities are affecting the evolution and distribution of species worldwide. Understanding fluctuations throughout history can help predict similar changes in the future and focus conservation efforts.
In a recent study, researchers combined genetic sequence analyses and niche modelling to characterize the demographic history and population structure of the European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), a long-distance migrant, recently designated as vulnerable.
The results of the genetic study revealed historical population fluctuations with a drastic early-Holocene expansion, and a more recent contraction, both of which are supported by the suitable habitats as shown by niche models constructed using GBIF-mediated occurrences and paleoclimatic data. The researchers found no evidence of genetic structures being linked to migratory flyways.
The combined results suggest that all turtle dove populations across Europe are equally vulnerable and relevant for conservation.