I. Background: Merlins, Falco columbarius, breed throughout temperate and high latitude habitats in Asia, Europe, and North America. Like peregrine falcons, F. peregrinus, merlins underwent population declines during the mid-to-late 20th century, due to organochlorine-based contamination, and have subsequently recovered, at least in North American populations.
II. Methods and Results: To better understand levels of genetic diversity and population structuring in contemporary populations and to assess the impact of the 20th century decline, we used genomic data archived in public databases and constructed genomic libraries to isolate and characterize a suite of 17 microsatellite markers for use in merlins. We also conducted cross-amplification experiments to determine the markers’ utility in peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons, F. rusticolus.
III. Conclusions: These markers provide a valuable addition to marker suites that can be used to determine individual identity and conduct genetic analyses on merlins and congeners.