Evolutionary history and identification of conservation units in the giant otter, Pteronura brasiliensis

Pickles, R., Groombridge, J., Rojas, V., Van Damme, P., Gotelli, D., Kundu, S., Bodmer, R., Ariani, C., Iyengar, A. and Jordan, W. (2011) Evolutionary history and identification of conservation units in the giant otter, Pteronura brasiliensis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61 (3). pp. 616-627. ISSN 1055-7903.

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Abstract

The giant otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, occupies a range including the major drainage basins of South America, yet the degree of structure that exists within and among populations inhabiting these drainages is unknown. We sequenced portions of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b (612bp) and control region (383 bp) genes in order to determine patterns of genetic variation within the species. We found high levels of mtDNA haplotype diversity (h = 0.93 overall) and support for subdivision into four distinct groups of populations, representing important centers of genetic diversity and useful units for prioritizing conservation within the giant otter. We tested these results against the predictions of three hypotheses of Amazonian diversification (Pleistocene Refugia, Paleogeography, and Hydrogeology). While the phylogeographic pattern conformed to the predictions of the Refugia Hypothesis, molecular dating using a relaxed clock revealed the phylogroups diverged from one another between 1.69 and 0.84 Ma, ruling out the influence of Late Pleistocene glacial refugia. However, the role of Plio-Pleistocene climate change could not be rejected. While the molecular dating also makes the influence of geological arches according to the Paleogeography Hypothesis extremely unlikely, the recent Pliocene formation of the Fitzcarrald Arch and its effect of subsequently altering drainage pattern could not be rejected. The data presented here support the interactions of both climatic and hydrological changes resulting from geological activity in the Plio-Pleistocene, in shaping the phylogeographic structure of the giant otter.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology (General) > QH0359 Evolution
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology (General) > QH0426 Genetics
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0001 General including nature conservation, geographical distribution > QH077 Nature conservation
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0605 Chordates. Vertebrates > QL0700 Mammals
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Samit Kundu
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2016 10:25
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 10:25
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14403

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00