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  Subjects -> CONSERVATION (Total: 128 journals)
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Conservation Genetics
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.924
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 23  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1572-9737 - ISSN (Online) 1566-0621
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2468 journals]
  • eDNA metabarcoding reveals a rich but threatened and declining
           elasmobranch community in West Africa’s largest marine protected area,
           the Banc d’Arguin

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      Abstract: Abstract Elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) are the most threatened marine vertebrates, particularly in tropical and subtropical areas. Their population status is often poorly understood due to insufficient information. Despite reportedly harbouring critical elasmobranch habitats, the Banc d’Arguin National Park (PNBA) in Mauritania lacks comprehensive and updated information on the diversity of elasmobranch species in the area. We developed a baseline inventory based on morphological and molecular identification and metabarcoding. DNA barcoding of tissue samples from elasmobranch processing sites and freshly sampled specimens was used to build a genetic reference database of local elasmobranch species. The richness and diversity of species in the PNBA were described via metabarcoding of seawater eDNA samples using an elasmobranch-specific assay and our reference database. We detected 27 species, including 12 new species records for the PNBA. We further uncover potentially undescribed species of Gymnura and Torpedo, while taxonomic corrections are noted for previously reported species. In particular, the reportedly abundant Mustelus mustelus was absent from tissue and eDNA samples, while M. punctulatus was detected instead. Taxa that have anecdotally become regionally extinct or rare (e.g., sawfishes, wedgefishes, lemon sharks) were not detected, highlighting local species diversity shifts within the last few decades. Results show that 67.9% of elasmobranch species in the PNBA are threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This study emphasises the importance of taxonomic identification in support of species management and provides a baseline to inform future studies and conservation measures to avoid further species losses.
      PubDate: 2024-02-22
       
  • Correction: Population structure and history of North Atlantic Blue whales
           (Balaenoptera musculus musculus) inferred from whole genome sequence
           analysis

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      PubDate: 2024-02-17
       
  • Genomic data identify genetic structure in Enoploctenus cyclothorax
           (Araneae: Ctenidae), revealing two distinct taxonomic units in the
           southern region of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

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      Abstract: Abstract Habitat fragmentation is among the greatest threats to arachnids present in the forests, especially to Enoploctenus cyclothorax (Ctenidae), which is widely distributed in the Atlantic Forest of southern and southeastern Brazil. Fragmented populations, whether due to anthropic or stochastic factors, tend to be more susceptible to extinction, since genetic diversity is reduced in small and isolated populations. Considering this, the current work aimed to understand how the genetic variability is distributed in six populations of E. cyclothorax (120 individuals sampled), sampled in fragments of the Atlantic Forest in Paraná (Brazil), based on Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. The results obtained support the separation of E. cyclothorax into two distinct genetic groups in the state, based mainly on analyses of genetic structure and connectivity. A strong and significant genetic structure was observed in the species, supported by the k = 3 estimated using Bayesian analysis, by the high values of FST genetic differentiation, and by the low gene flow identified between the genetic groups. Corroborating these results, isolation by distance and the presence of a genetic barrier in the evaluated populations were evidenced. Population genomic analysis also revealed non-homogeneous genetic diversity in E. cyclothorax (HE = 0.14 to 0.31). The hypothesis that population fragmentation could possibly impact the genetic variability of E. cyclothorax throughout the state was confirmed by the inferred data, which point to phytophysiognomy, geographical distance, and forest fragmentation as factors that shaped the current genetic structure identified in the evaluated populations.
      PubDate: 2024-02-17
       
  • The importance of understanding clonal structure for species listing and
           recovery: case studies from the rare oconee bells (shortia brevistyla and
           shortia galacifolia; Diapensiaceae) and the federally endangered bunched
           arrowhead (sagittaria fasciculata; Alismataceae)

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      Abstract: Abstract Understanding genetic structure in rare plant populations is essential to making informed decisions for recovery actions, particularly in species capable of clonal reproduction. Here, we present three case studies using microsatellites to assess clonal structure in rare plants: Northern Oconee bells (S. brevistyla (P.A. Davies) Gaddy) and Southern Oconee bells (Shortia galacifolia Torr & Gray) (Diapensiaceae); and bunched arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata E.O. Beal (Alismataceae)). We used six loci to genotype Shortia brevistyla (n = 62 ramets; three sites) and S. galacifolia (n = 111 ramets; seven sites) and five loci in Sagittaria fasciculata (n = 162 ramets; eight sites). Ramets were systematically mapped and sampled to allow for clonal assignment in a spatial context. All ramets for S. brevistyla were genetically identical across all loci, while S. galacifolia exhibited variation consistent with a mixed reproductive strategy. Sagittaria fasciculata also exhibited a mixed reproductive strategy with emphasis on clonality. Our data indicate that stem counts are not effective measures for recovery assessment in these species, and a more complex demographic monitoring protocol should be developed. Additional implications for conservation of these species are discussed, including a consideration for federal listing for Shortia brevistyla.
      PubDate: 2024-02-14
       
  • Remnant kenngoor (Phascogale calura) retain genetic connectivity and
           genetic diversity in a highly fragmented landscape

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      Abstract: Abstract Kenngoor (Phascogale calura) persist in < 1% of their original distribution, occupying highly fragmented remnant habitat in south-west Western Australia, with very little known of the genetic diversity of the remaining wild populations. Recently, the species has been translocated to managed reserves to improve its conservation. Understanding genetic structure and patterns of genetic diversity is crucial to inform conservation translocations for species recovery. This study aims to (1) assess genetic structure and genetic diversity across remaining wild locations, (2) assess long-term genetic outcomes of a mixed-source wild-to-wild translocation, and (3) estimate global effective population size. We genotyped 209 samples from 13 locations of fragmented remnant habitat using reduced representation sequencing. An isolation by distance model best explained genetic structure across the survey areas, with evidence of fine scale divergence of two northern locations. Allelic richness and autosomal heterozygosity measures indicated that diversity is spread uniformly across locations, and no locations showed signs of inbreeding or strong genetic drift. The mixed-source translocation has retained the diversity of the wider species ten years post-translocation. Overall, our results suggest that connectivity between survey areas has largely been maintained and that no location has substantially lower genetic diversity, despite the highly fragmented nature of remnant kenngoor habitat. Future translocations should aim to represent a mixture of genetically divergent locations to maintain the diversity present at the species level. Ongoing conservation management will be required to ensure the long-term viability of the species in this fragmented landscape.
      PubDate: 2024-02-13
       
  • Effective population size of adult and offspring cohorts as a genetic
           monitoring tool in two stand-forming and wind-pollinated tree species:
           Fagus sylvatica L. and Picea abies (L.) Karst.

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      Abstract: Abstract Genetic diversity is considered to be a prerequisite for adaptation and adaptability as it is a key element of biological diversity. However, the monitoring of genetic diversity has tended to be ignored in biodiversity monitoring. We report a comprehensive genetic monitoring effort in two dominant forest tree species, which was started with a baseline survey in 12 European beech populations and 10 Norway spruce populations in Germany. The standardized experimental design is based on collecting samples of at least 250 adult trees, and 400 natural regeneration and 400 seed samples and their genotyping with 15–16 high-resolution SSR markers. In addition to commonly used mean values across the markers to quantify genetic diversity, we placed special emphasis on various marker-based, pedigree-based and demographic models for estimating the contemporary effective population size Ne of the different generations. In both beech and spruce, no variation in genetic diversity with mean values across markers was detectable between the studied stands and between age cohorts. We detected that stable allelic diversity in progeny generations is ensured by sufficient gene flow from surrounding forests. However, estimates of effective population size show marked differentiation among populations and among age cohorts. Natural regeneration samples appear to converge on the parent generation, while seed samples show a clear bottleneck effect. The Ne parameter can be used to derive conclusions for sustainable natural regeneration management in forest stands and for seed stand approvals including adequate seed collections for appropriate artificial regenerations.The sibship frequency-based method for Ne estimates is presented as much more robust than the widely used LD estimates, which often fail for samples with too weak relatedness. Despite the distinct kinship structure in our monitoring plots, the contemporary effective population size proves to be an essential parameter for assessing the integrity of the reproductive system.
      PubDate: 2024-02-11
       
  • Genetic analysis of federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow
           subpopulations in the Greater Everglades, USA

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      Abstract: Abstract The federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammospiza maritima mirabilis) is endemic to the Greater Everglades ecosystem in southern Florida, inhabiting fragmented marl prairies in six individual subpopulations. The subspecies is threatened by loss of breeding habitat from fire and water management. Genetic information is severely limited for the subspecies but could help inform decisions regarding subpopulation protections and potential translocations for genetic rescue. To provide genetic data and inform management efforts, feather samples were collected across five subpopulations (designated A–E) and protocols were tested to optimize DNA extraction yields. We assessed four mitochondrial DNA markers (N = 36–69) and 12 nuclear microsatellite loci (N = 55) in 108 sparrows. Mitochondrial DNA sequences revealed low haplotype diversity, with NADH dehydrogenase-2 haplotypes matching to most other extant subspecies and to the Atlantic coast subspecies. Nuclear diversity was low compared to other subspecies, but similar across subpopulations. Samples grouped as one population when analyzed by Principal Component Analysis, Bayesian modelling and genetic distance metrics. Limited genetic emigration was detected from one putative migrant. Relatedness was significantly different for sparrows in the most geographically distant subpopulation (A), likely reflecting high self-recruitment and natal site fidelity (P = 0.003). The low to moderate effective population size (NE = 202.4; NE:NC = 0.06) and generation time estimates indicated that unique genetic variation could be lost quickly during stochastic events. The sample sizes were limited, which reduced the power to comprehensively address recent population size reductions and any subsequent loss of genetic diversity.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Sibship analysis revealed the reproductive strategy and current population
           status of the silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) from the middle
           and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China

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      Abstract: Abstract Reproductive strategy and population status are crucial factors to understand species adaptation mechanism and to make suitable conservation decisions. In the present study, we investigated the reproductive strategy of the silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) using microsatellite markers and sibship analysis on 476 offspring born in 2017 from the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River in China. The results revealed that silver carp adopts a promiscuous genetic mating system with a balanced sex ratio 1:1 in the breeding population. Inferred partner numbers ranged from 1 to 4 for each parent, with more than half of the males (50.96%) and females (55.12%) mating with multiple partners. Sibship assignment revealed that reproductive success was relatively even among individuals for both sexes. The effective population size (Neadj) and census population size (Nc) in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in 2017 were 2686 and 8104, respectively, with a relatively high Neadj/ Nc ratio 0.33. The even reproductive success and relatively high ratio value of Neadj/ Nc suggest the absence of the sweepstakes reproductive success (SRS, the strategy offspring only from a few parents) in silver carp, which help maintain a relatively high genetic diversity in population. According to the result of larval (egg) resource survey, we estimated the census population of the silver carp in Yichang section, the main spawning ground, in 2017 to be 6498, which is approximately 58.71% of the historical record. Therefore, we recommend that conservation efforts for silver carp should be strengthened, especially focused on protecting the Yichang spawning ground to help restore its population.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Genetic diversity within late-summer run and half-pounder steelhead
           (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Rogue River, Oregon

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      Abstract: Abstract Anadromous Oncorhynchus mykiss (steelhead) express diverse migratory behaviors and life-history strategies. Adult migration timing diversity within steelhead is often categorized into divergent early- and late-migration phenotypes. On the Rogue River in Oregon, adult steelhead return from the ocean during distinct early-summer, late-summer, and winter runs. Additionally, some juvenile steelhead briefly return to freshwater as “half pounders,” before completing their oceanic growth phase and returning to freshwater again to spawn. Using markers from a Genotyping-in-Thousands by sequencing amplicon panel, we describe a genetic axis that discriminates between Rogue River steelhead that express early- vs. late-migration phenotypes. Then we examine whether late-summer run adults carry early- or late-migration associated alleles and assign half pounders as early or late migrators. Both late-summer run adults and half pounders bear highly heterozygous genotypes and recombined haplotypes at the greb1l–rock1 region on chromosome 28 associated with adult migration timing, suggestive of ongoing gene flow among individuals with early- and late-migration haplotypes. Our classification suggests that half pounders are a mixed assemblage of offspring from all three adult runs. We discuss the utility of markers within the greb1l–rock1 region to predict phenotypes and highlight the need to validate candidate gene-trait associations across lineages before applying them for management. Finally, we consider the implications of our results on the maintenance of life-history diversity within steelhead.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Inbreeding depression in Sable Island feral horses is mediated by
           intrinsic and extrinsic variables

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      Abstract: Abstract Inbreeding depression (ID) occurs when inbreeding negatively impacts fitness. Understanding ID in wildlife is crucial for conservation and management, but obtaining good estimates of inbreeding and fitness to study ID on such systems can be challenging. Furthermore, the possible modulation of ID by various intrinsic and extrinsic variables can make its detection and interpretation uncertain in the absence of detailed individual and environmental information. Here we tested for ID in the culturally important population of feral horses (Equus ferus caballus) of Sable Island, Canada, using inbreeding coefficients derived from ~ 30,000 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and individual-based data for three fitness-related traits (body condition [BC], strongyle fecal egg count [FEC], and age at first reproduction [AFR]). We further assessed whether the expression of ID in this population was modulated by intrinsic (age, sex, reproductive status) and extrinsic (location, year) variables. ID was detected for all traits but mediating variables differed. For both BC and FEC, ID varied among years and was greater in the western portion of the island. In contrast, ID for BC was strongest in juveniles and lactating mares while for FEC it was strongest for reproductive-aged horses and males. Lastly, ID for AFR was mediated by cohort effects. Our study indicates that ID is impacting the fitness and welfare of Sable Island horses, but that its intensity varies among traits and ecological contexts. This illustrates the importance of considering both intrinsic and extrinsic variables to understand the expression of ID in the wild.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Inconsistent estimates of hybridization frequency in newts revealed by
           SNPs and microsatellites

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      Abstract: Abstract Hybridization between the European smooth and palmate newts has recurrently been mentioned in the literature. The only two studies that attempted to quantify the frequency of hybridization and gene admixture between these two species came to strikingly opposite conclusions. According to Arntzen et al. (1998, 42 allozymes), hybrids are rare in nature and introgression negligible, while according to Johanet et al. (2011, 6 microsatellites), introgressive hybridization is significant and widespread across the shared distribution range. To clarify this question, we implemented high-throughput SNP genotyping with diagnostic biallelic SNPs on 965 specimens sampled across Europe. Our results are in line with Arntzen et al., since only two F1 hybrids were identified in two distinct French localities, and no further hybrid generations or backcrosses. Moreover, reanalysis of 78 of the samples previously studied by Johanet et al. (2011) using our SNPs panel could not reproduce their results, suggesting that microsatellite-based inference overestimated the hybridization frequency between these two species. Since we did not detect methodological issues with the analyses of Johanet et al., our results suggest that SNP approaches outperform microsatellite-based assessments of hybridization frequency, and that conclusions previously published on this topic with a small number of microsatellite loci should be taken with caution, and ideally be repeated with an increased genomic coverage.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • In situ conservation of Helosciadium nodiflorum: a crop wild relative of
           celery in Germany

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      Abstract: Abstract Crop wild relatives (CWR) represent valuable sources of traits that can enhance the abiotic and biotic stress tolerance of crops. Due to climate change and expansion of land use, they may suffer from population decline, which increases the risk of losing these resources. The in situ conservation of CWR is receiving growing attention to preserve their intraspecific diversity. In contrast to the safeguarding of seeds ex situ, the preservation of taxa in their natural habitat facilitates the development of new adaptations to changing environmental conditions. However, studies aiming at the establishment of their in situ conservation are rare. Therefore, we identified and genotyped Helosciadium nodiflorum occurrences in Germany. Helosciadium nodiflorum is an endangered CWR of cultivated celery (Apium graveolens). For 20 occurrences the number of individuals, the number of sexually reproducing individuals, and potential threats were recorded. Genetic differences were examined using 17 newly developed simple sequence repeats (SSR). Population genetic analyses, like the inference of the compositional genetic differentiation, of population structure, and a Discriminant Analysis of Principal Components were conducted. The analyses revealed that most occurrences were genetically distinct. Geographically closely located populations are often also genetically more similar. Several populations revealed a composite genome indicative of hybridizations between distinct populations. Populations that experienced fixation were also identified. Based on the genetic diversity, the location in different ecogeographic units, and the support of local stakeholders, we recommend the establishment of 15 genetic reserves for H. nodiflorum in Germany.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Neutral genetic diversity follows a latitudinal gradient in the endangered
           plant Arnica montana L.: a range-wide study

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      Abstract: Abstract Arnica montana is a clonal, self-incompatible herb of economic and intrinsic ecological value which is declining in large parts of its range. With the employment of microsatellite markers, we characterized the population structure and distribution of genetic diversity of 40 populations of A. montana sampled throughout Europe. We detected a clear geographical pattern of isolation and strong population structure, indicating limited gene flow. We also observed a negative latitudinal gradient in genetic diversity. Such patterns can be explained by paleo-historical colonization routes following the last glacial maximum, with regions characterized by higher genetic diversity corresponding to former glacial refugia. We recommend the implementation of conservation measures such as assisted gene flow in the populations characterized by low genetic diversity under consideration of the observed population structure. For the populations where high levels of genetic diversity are still retained, we recommend the maintenance of suitable habitat conditions. Our study emphasises the importance of conducting large-scale population genetic studies that consider postglacial recolonization history when planning active conservation measures such as assisted gene flow.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Evaluating possible anthropogenic impacts on gene flow and loss of genetic
           diversity in endangered Madla Cave Meshweaver spiders (Hahniidae, Cicurina
           madla)

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      Abstract: Abstract Karst systems have great ecological, cultural and economic importance, but are constantly threatened by human development. Northwestern Bexar County, Texas (USA), is an example of a region where urbanization threatens an essential karst landscape. Many studies have provided substantial contributions to the understanding and conservation of biodiversity in this area, including the delineation of Karst Fauna Regions (KFRs). However, no study has evaluated fundamentally important measures of genetic diversity, changes in population sizes, and gene flow for listed regional species. Here we used population genomic data derived from the sequence capture of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) to describe patterns of structure and connectivity among cave populations of Cicurina madla, and to estimate demographic and phylogeographic processes underlying those patterns. In addition, we evaluated if population genetic processes could have been influenced by human activities. Although there is weak phylogenomic differentiation between populations, the distribution of genetic diversity and patterns of gene flow within and between areas suggest important differences in population dynamics among KFRs. Our genomic data show that populations of C. madla in Bexar County currently carry comparatively low levels of heterozygosity and nucleotide diversity, and that these might have been influenced by human activities. Ultimately, we present genomic evidence for declining cave spider population sizes perhaps coincident with increases in an expanding human population and discuss implications of our findings for conservation.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Asymmetrical gene flow between coastal and inland dunes in a threatened
           digger wasp

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      Abstract: Abstract Connectivity is a species- and landscape-specific measure that is key to species conservation in fragmented landscapes. However, information on connectivity is often lacking, especially for insects which are known to be severely declining. Patterns of gene flow constitute an indirect measure of functional landscape connectivity. We studied the population genetic structure of the rare digger wasp Bembix rostrata in coastal and inland regions in and near Belgium. The species is restricted to sandy pioneer vegetations for nesting and is well known for its philopatry as it does not easily colonize vacant habitat. It has markedly declined in the last century, especially in the inland region where open sand habitat has decreased in area and became highly fragmented. To assess within and between region connectivity, we used mating system independent population genetic methods suitable for haplodiploid species. We found more pronounced genetic structure in the small and isolated inland populations as compared to the well-connected coastal region. We also found a pattern of asymmetrical gene flow from coast to inland, including a few rare dispersal distances of potentially up to 200 to 300 km, based on assignment tests. We point to demography, wind and difference in dispersal capacities as possible underlying factors that can explain the discrepancy in connectivity and asymmetrical gene flow between the different regions. Overall, gene flow between existing populations appeared not highly restricted, especially at the coast. Therefore, to improve the conservation status of B. rostrata, the primary focus should be to preserve and create sufficient habitat for this species to increase the number and quality of (meta) populations, rather than focusing on landscape connectivity itself.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Towards a standardised set of data analyses for long-term genetic
           monitoring of grouse using non-invasive sampling: a case study on western
           capercaillie

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      Abstract: Abstract Genetic monitoring has become a popular instrument in the conservation of endangered species, allowing to estimate size and genetic structure of wild populations. Long-term monitoring projects are essential to recognize demographic changes and impact of human activities. Since 2011, an extensive monitoring project on the population size and trends, as well as spatial distribution and survival rates, of two grouse species including the western capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus, has been conducted in Tyrol, in the eastern part of the European Alps, where T. urogallus males are huntable under specific regulations. In this case study, we aimed to compile a set of analyses to be employed in evaluating data from dropping and feather samples for conservation studies. Using eleven microsatellite and two sex markers, we genotyped 251 faeces and feathers of T. urogallus collected in East Tyrol in spring 2019. We analysed population structure and mobility patterns, including sex differences in genetic diversity and mobility. The relationship between habitat parameters and genetic diversity was investigated using multiple linear regressions. We showed that the investigated T. urogallus population is well mixed and likely well connected to neighbouring populations. We also found sex-specific mobility patterns that support female-biased dispersal. As the last step, we demonstrated the general feasibility of a modelling approach using habitat parameters. With this pilot study, further analysis of data is possible for the whole monitoring project, giving a better insight in the grouse populations in Tyrol.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Pollen dispersal and mating patterns determine resilience for a
           large-yet-fragmented population of Cariniana estrellensis

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      Abstract: Abstract Forest fragmentation studies are now urgent due to increased rates of deforestation and forest fires worldwide. In South America, the bee-pollinated Cariniana estrellensis is one of the largest trees, and a paradigm for the health and sustainability of forest biomes. For a large-yet-fragmented population (four subpopulations) in the transition zone between Brazilian Savannah and Atlantic Forest, we carried out a study of pollen flow, mating system and spatial genetic structure using nine microsatellite loci. This revealed that the subpopulations are not reproductively isolated because of pollen flow from outside the study area (18.3%) and between subpopulations (16.1–31.3%). Pollen dispersal reached long distances (3.5 km), but mating occurred predominantly between larger-diameter trees located close to mother-trees. We found that C. estrellensis is self-compatible with reproduction mediated mainly by outcrossing (> 0.95), but matings were not random due to biparental inbreeding (tr: 0.048–0.124) and correlated-paternity (rp: 0.16–0.28), which was higher within (rpw: 0.524–0.95) than among fruits (rpa: 0.048–0.052). Inbreeding decreased from seedlings (0.088) to adults, indicating inbreeding depression between the seedling and adult stages. Subpopulations exhibited spatial genetic structure (50–200 m), revealing a pattern of genetic dispersion of isolation-by-distance. Seeds should be harvested from trees that are > 200 m apart for successful ex-situ conservation and populations should not be isolated by more than the maximum pollen-dispersion distance observed (3.5 km) for in-situ conservation. The findings are consistent with the maximum distance that bees can disperse pollen and thereby maintain genetic connectivity between populations and resilience to population fragmentation into forest remnants.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Do river basins shape genetic structure in the Kempholey night frog,
           India'

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      Abstract: Abstract Amphibians are one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates globally. For effective conservation, understanding the patterns and processes underlying amphibian diversity is essential. Studies of genetic diversity and structure among conspecific populations and closely related species can provide crucial insights for their conservation; however, such studies are limited in South Asian tropical areas with high anuran diversity. In this study, we investigated the genetic diversity and structure in a widespread endemic frog, Nyctibatrachus kempholeyensis from the Western Ghats, India. Both mitochondrial and nuclear markers were used to analyse the phylogeographical and population genetic structure at multiple geographic scales. At a broader scale, river basins appeared to be weak barriers and genetic variation was more influenced by geographic distance. At a regional scale, headwater specialization and poor dispersal capability of N. kempholeyensis influenced the apportionment of genetic variation. The conservation planning for this species should consider the increased divergence of peripheral populations as well as develop measures at the stream scale to improve the gene-flow among the populations. This is the first population genetics study on freshwater amphibians from the Western Ghats, India and the results of our study will provide important baseline data for the conservation and management of freshwater dependent amphibians from this region.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Genomic data reveal shift in geographic source of an illegally traded
           songbird

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      Abstract: Abstract Wildlife trade is one of the major contributors to biodiversity loss in Southeast Asia, especially in songbirds. Wildlife forensics using genomic data can be instrumental in informing conservation action by identifying trade routes and animals’ provenance to help law enforcement. We obtained ~ 10,000 genome-wide markers spanning a panel of 87 wild, captive, and confiscated individuals of one of the most widely traded songbirds in Southeast Asia, Swinhoe’s white-eye (Zosterops simplex), to examine shifts in trade routes. Our population-genomic analyses reveal that a well-studied population of this white-eye on Singapore Island exhibits a major genomic contribution from the geographically distant subspecies simplex, reflecting historic trade into Singapore from China. In contrast, modern confiscated samples as well as a minority of wild Singapore samples carry the genomic signature of the Southeast Asian subspecies erwini, suggesting that modern trade sources in Singapore have shifted from China towards adjacent Malaysia. Our study highlights how accurate identification of trade routes can help conservationists’ efforts in tackling the growing songbird crisis in the region.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • Functional connectivity in northern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii
           duvaucelii) population across a fragmented, human-dominated landscape
           along Gangetic Plains of north India: implications for conservation in
           non-protected areas

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      Abstract: Abstract The Indian subcontinent has witnessed disproportionate declines in large mammalian herbivore communities. The northern swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii duvaucelii) exemplifies the conservation challenges of typical non-protected area species, where apart from distribution status other ecological information is limited for the upper Gangetic basin population. We combined elements of radio-telemetry and conservation genetics to evaluate dispersal patterns, population connectivity and assess genetic variation and inbreeding status of this population living across a highly human-dominated area. We genetically identified 266 unique swamp deer and further analyses revealed presence of two spatially-admixed genetic lineages with moderate heterozygosity (Ho=0.51, SD = 0.10) and low inbreeding (FIS = 0.128) status. Multidisciplinary evidence suggests that the small, isolated grassland patches between Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve (JJCR) and Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary (HWLS) are highly preferred by swamp deer during migrations and are genetically connected. The southern part of the area in HWLS showed early signatures of genetic discontinuity that require immediate conservation attention. We hypothesized that the human settlement history of this landscape, river dynamics and species’ ability to negotiate various pressures and disperse has helped to maintain such connectivity. While these signatures are encouraging for this small, isolated cervid population, careful management interventions are required to ensure the integrity and functionality of this landscape. We recommend a scientifically robust population estimation approach across this landscape and multi-stakeholder-driven strategies to augment population and habitat recovery, combat poaching, plantation and riverscape management to ensure long-term survival of this species.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
 
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