Unexpected high levels of genetic variability and the population structure of an island endemic rodent (Oryzomys couesi cozumelae)

Journal article


Vega, R., Vázquez-Domínguez, E., Mejía-Puente, A. and Cuarón, A. 2007. Unexpected high levels of genetic variability and the population structure of an island endemic rodent (Oryzomys couesi cozumelae). Biological Conservation. 137 (2), pp. 210-222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2007.02.007
AuthorsVega, R., Vázquez-Domínguez, E., Mejía-Puente, A. and Cuarón, A.
Abstract

Oryzomys couesi cozumelae is an endemic, threatened rodent from Cozumel Island, Mexico. We estimated its genetic diversity and structure by analyzing microsatellite loci in 228 samples from 12 sampling sites widely distributed throughout the island. Unexpected high levels of genetic and allelic diversity were found: a total of 54 alleles, an average of 10.8 alleles per locus, and high heterozygosity values (mean HO = 0.624, HE = 0.690 and HNei = 0.689). These values are higher than those reported for small sized insular mammals, higher than that found in 37 individuals of the mainland O. couesi from southern Mexico (HO = 0.578) that we analyzed for comparative purposes, and similar to those of other mainland small mammal populations. Despite factors that affect Cozumel’s biota, such as exotic predators and competitors, hurricanes, seasonal population fluctuations and anthropogenic activities, no evidence of genetic bottlenecks was found. A significant population structure was observed and a model of isolation-by-distance was supported. Our findings render O. c. cozumelae a high conservation value, not only for its high genetic diversity and structure, but because available data suggests that its population has declined significantly in recent years. Further habitat fragmentation and population isolation could result in a higher genetic structure and loss of genetic diversity. The protection of habitat, the maintenance of habitat connectivity and the removal of introduced competitors and predators are a conservation priority. Acknowledging that the genetic structure of populations has crucial conservation implications, the present genetic information should be taken into account in management plans for the conservation of O. c. cozumelae.

Year2007
JournalBiological Conservation
Journal citation137 (2), pp. 210-222
ISSN00063207
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2007.02.007
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Apr 2017
Accepted30 Mar 2007
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8825y/unexpected-high-levels-of-genetic-variability-and-the-population-structure-of-an-island-endemic-rodent-oryzomys-couesi-cozumelae

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