Genetic Consequences of Habitat Fragmentation in Black-and-Gold Howler (Alouatta caraya) Populations from Northern Argentina
Source: International Journal of Primatology, Volume 31, Number 5, October 2010 , pp. 813-832(20)
Abstract:Human-induced habitat fragmentation might seriously affect behavioural patterns and the survival of species whose ecological requirements strongly depend on specific environmental conditions. We compared the genetic structure and dispersal patterns of 2 populations of Alouatta caraya (Plathyrrhini, Atelidae) to understand how habitat reduction and fragmentation affect gene flow in this species. We sampled individuals from 7 groups living in continuous forest (CF, n = 46, 22 males and 24 females), and 11 groups that inhabit a fragmented forest (FF, n = 50, 24 males and 26 females). FST values based on 11 microsatellite loci showed a recent genetic differentiation among groups in the FF. In contrast, the CF showed no differentiation among groups. Further, FST values between sexes, as well as kinship relationships, also exhibited differences between habitats. In the CF, both males and females disperse, leading to nondifferentiated groups composed of adults that are not close relatives. Conversely, in the FF, some groups are differentiated, males disperse more than females, and groups are composed of closely related adult females. Our results suggest that habitat fragmentation modifies the dispersal patterns of black-and-gold howlers. These differences between habitats may reflect a reduced gene flow, providing genetic evidence that suggests that habitat fragmentation severely limits the howler’s ability to disperse. An increasing level of isolation due to uncontrolled deforestation may cause similar loss of genetic diversity on other arboreal primates, and nonprimates that depend on forest continuity to disperse, reducing their abilities to cope with environmental changes.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: SDHG (Servicio de Huellas Digitales Genéticas), Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Estación Biológica Corrientes, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina 3: SDHG (Servicio de Huellas Digitales Genéticas), Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Publication date: October 1, 2010