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Plains Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus jamesi) are found in steppe, grassland, and mixed shrub habitats throughout central and northern North America.  They originally occupied 21 U.S. states and eight provinces, but have been extirpated from eight states.   Populations have been greatly reduced due to habitat loss and conversion of native land to agriculture. As the human population increases in the province and industrial and agricultural development expands, habitat for Sharp-tailed Grouse continues to decrease and become fragmented.  Habitat fragmentation can result in small populations that are at risk of losing genetic variability.  This loss of genetic diversity can increase the probability of population extinction, reduce that population’s ability for future adaptive change, and decrease individual fitness.  Reduced genetic variation is expected to be more evident in lekking species since only a small proportion of males in the Sharp-tailed Grouse population are thought to mate. 

The Sharp-tail genetics project involves using 1155 molted feather samples collected by Alberta Fish and Wildlife and ACA personnel during intensive lek counts in the spring of 2006 and 2007.  These samples are from up to 77 leks in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Contact Me~ All pictures are copyrighted to Krissy Bird - Last updated February 10, 2011