Lisa Miller, a Zoology major at OSU, now graduate with honors, did all the hard lab work for this study: supported by an NSF-REU grant she genotyped 285 blood samples collected from Puget Sound White-crowned Sparrows along the Pacific Northwest coast at 14 microsatellite loci using primers specifically developed for Z. l. pugetensis (Poesel et al 2009). We analyzed whether genotypic variation among individuals correlated with geographic variation in song (White-crowned Sparrows are known to sing dialects along the coast). We found high levels of gene flow among the dialect populations indicating that the timing of learning and dispersal allow vocalizations to vary independently of patterns of genetic divergence.
Poesel A, Fries AC, Miller L, Gibbs HL, Soha JA, Nelson DA 2017. High levels of gene flow among song dialect populations of the Puget Sound white-crowned sparrow. Ethology DOI: 10.1111/eth.12632