Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group
  We use molecular tools to study the evolution of diversity, and assist in its conservation

photo of ines Ines Sanchez-Donoso, PhD

Estación Biológica de Doñana- CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio, 26
41092 Sevilla, Spain
Phone: +34 954 232340
Google scholar citations

Research Interests

My main interests are related with evolution, biodiversity and conservation. I use genetic tools to study hybridization, genetic population structure, sexual selection and mating systems.

My research has been focused on the common quail (Coturnix coturnix), a game species whose populations are and have been restocked extensively with farm-reared quails of hybrid origin (crosses with domestic Japanese quails, C. japonica). Since admixture of these individuals with the common quail in the wild has been claimed as one of the main threads for the conservation of the native species, I am studying several aspects of their hybridization: their mating system, sperm competition, behavior and fitness of the admixed individuals in the wild, among others.

In this line of research, I have been collaborating with the Coturnix Research Group from the University of Barcelona, leaded by José Domingo Rodríguez Teijeiro and Manel Puigcerver.

southeast asian quail                    Common quail male

I have recently defended my PhD thesis, titled: "Impact of game restocking on common quail populations" |

Abstract: The common quail (Coturnix coturnix) is a popular game bird in Europe. The massive restocking of farm-reared individuals for hunting purposes is a common practice in several European countries. Although restocking of common quail is legally allowed, some suspicion has been aroused about the possible hybrid origin of farm-reared quails from crosses with domestic Japanese quail (C. japonica). Hybrids do not show the migratory instinct observed in common quails, which allows them to overcome the annual depletion of the habitat: winter cereal fields that are harvested. Because of that, crosses in the wild between farm-reared and common quails may result in the introgression of adaptive alleles in native populations, posing an important threat for the common quail. The goal of this thesis is to understand the effects that game restocking has over common quail populations, and to gain knowledge applicable to improve common quail conservation and management. By the use of genetic methods, results from this thesis show that the vast majority of quails reared in Spanish farms for restocking are not common quail but domestic Japanese quails and hybrids. In the wild, restocked individuals show higher mortality and nest predation than common quails, but they successfully reproduce with the same or even higher probability than native quails. Results show that genetic introgression has already occurred in common quail populations in Catalonia, and genetic data is compatible with a slow rate of ongoing introgression of domestic Japanese quail alleles into the common quail gene pool. Simulations predict this could result in extensive admixture in the near future if release practices are maintained. Intensive control and genetic monitoring of individuals for restocking is needed as the massive release of farm-reared hybrids represents a severe threat for the long term survival of the common quail.


I have been recently working in the study of the mating system and the population genetic diversity of a Swedish population of tree sparrows (Passer montanus), trying to disentangle their relationship with the prevalence and transmission of avian parasites.

                 Tree sparrow (by F.Maudos)



Peer-reviewed Articles


Bone loss from carcasses in Mediterranean ecosystems
Bernáldez-Sánchez E, García-Viñas E, Sanchez-Donoso I, Leonard J
Palaios, In press.



Postcopulatory sexual selection favors fertilization success of restocking hybrid quails over native Common quails (Coturnix coturnix)
Sanchez-Donoso I, Morales-Rodriguez PA, Puigcerver M, Caballero de la Calle JR, Vilà C, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2016)
Journal of Ornithology 157, 33-42




Influence of game restocking on the migratory behavior of the common quail, Coturnix coturnix
Sanchez-Donoso I, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD, Quintanilla I, Jiménez-Blasco I, Sardà-Palomera F, Nadal J, Puigcerver M, Vilà C (2014)
Evolutionary Ecology Research 16, 493-504




Detecting slow introgression of invasive alleles in an extensively restocked game bird
Sanchez-Donoso I, Huisman J, Echegaray J, Puigcerver M, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD, Hailer F, Vilà C (2014)
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2, 00015



Decreased fitness of restocked hybrid quails prevents fast admixture with wild common quails
Puigcerver M, Sanchez-Donoso I, Vilà C, Sardà-Palomera F, García-Galea E, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2014)
Biological Conservation 171, 74-81




Hibridación entre la codorniz común (Coturnix coturnix) y la codorniz de granja: estado de un problema de conservación
Puigcerver M, Sanchez-Donoso I, Vilà C, Sardà-Palomera F, Morales-Rodríguez PA, Caballero de la Calle JR, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2013)
Ecosistemas 22(2), 48-53. [In Spanish]




Are farm-reared quails for game restocking really Common quails (Coturnix coturnix)?: A genetic approach
Sanchez-Donoso I, Vilà C, Puigcerver M, Butkauskas D, Caballero de la Calle JR, Morales-Rodríguez PA, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2012)
PLoS ONE 7 (6): e39031


Book Chapters

1. Sardà-Palomera F, Puigcerver M, Sanchez-Donoso I, Rodríguez-Teijeiro D (2011) Guatlla (Coturnix coturnix). In: Herrando S, Brotons Ll, Estrada J, Guallar S, Anton M (eds.) Atles dels ocells de Catalunya a l'Hivern 2006-2009 [Catalan Winter Bird Atlas 2006-2009]. Institut Català d'Ornitologia (ICO) / Lynx Edicions. pp 158-159. [In Catalan and English] |

Popular Science

4. Puigcerver M, Jiménez I, Ferreres JA, Sanchez-Donoso I, Sardà-Palomera F, Mercado YS, García-Galea E, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2013) Codornices: Revisión histórica, condición actual de su estado de conservación y tendencias poblacionales. Trofeo 518: 61–66. [In Spanish] |

3. Puigcerver M, Sardà-Palomera F, Sanchez-Donoso I, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2007) La Codorniz Común (Coturnix coturnix): una especie nada común. Accazadores 12: 40-44. [In Spanish]

2. Puigcerver M, Sardà-Palomera F, Sanchez-Donoso I, Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD (2007) Ni al alza ni a la baja. Trofeo 448: 54-61. [In Spanish]

1. Rodríguez-Teijeiro JD, Sardà-Palomera F, Sanchez-Donoso I, Puigcerver M (2007) Codornices híbridas. Trofeo 447: 58-59. [In Spanish]