Penguin ectoparasite panmixia suggests frequent host movement within a colony

Katie Moon is studying population connectivity, host specificity, physiological tolerances and genetic/species diversity in ticks throughout the Southern Hemisphere, with a view towards how this affects penguin colony structure.

Our collaborative work on ticks from penguins at Philip Island (Victoria, Australia) was accepted for publication with The Auk: Ornithological Advances this month!  In this study, we use genetic signatures of ticks to infer penguin movements within colonies and find signals for panmixia among populations, indicating high degrees of gene flow and socialisation despite strong nest-site philopatry.