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

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. ISSN 00063207.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0001 General including nature conservation, geographical distribution
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology (General)
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 > QH0301 Biology (General) > QH0540 Ecology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0001 General
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0605 Chordates. Vertebrates
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0605 Chordates. Vertebrates > QL0700 Mammals
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Rodrigo Vega
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 14:01
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 14:01
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15800

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