Investigating a Zone of Hybridization Between Greater and Lesser Prairie-chickens in Northern Kansas
A Lesser Prairie Chicken. Photo by Dan Wundrock.
Range expansion of Lesser Prairie-chicken in the northern portion of its range has brought populations of the Lesser Prairie-chicken into contact with the Greater Prairie-chicken, which offers the potential for hybridization, genetic introgression, and complication of the conservation status. The goal is this study is to determine the degree to which hybridization is occurring. We are documenting contemporary gene flow between Greater and Lesser Prairie-chickens in this area, confirming hybridization between these species. This research is in collaboration with Texas A&M-Kingsville, Oregon State University, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, and the Sutton Avian Research Center.