DE ANGELO Carlos Daniel
The effect of habitat fragmentation on the genetic structure of a top predator: loss of diversity and high differentiation among remnant populations of Atlantic Forest jaguars (Panthera onca)
HAAG, TAIANA; SANTOS, ANALISIE; SANA, DENIS; MORATO, RONALDO; CULLEN JR., LAURY; CRAWSHAW JR., PETER G.; DE ANGELO, CARLOS; DI BITETTI, MARIO; SALZANO, FRANCISCO; EIZIRIK, EDUARDO
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Año: 2010 vol. 19 p. 4906 - 4906
Habitat fragmentation may disrupt original patterns of gene flow and lead to driftinduceddifferentiation among local population units. Top predators such as the jaguarmay be particularly susceptible to this effect, given their low population densities,leading to small effective sizes in local fragments. On the other hand, the jaguars highdispersal capabilities and relatively long generation time might counteract this process,slowing the effect of drift on local populations over the time frame of decades orcenturies. In this study, we have addressed this issue by investigating the geneticstructure of jaguars in a recently fragmented Atlantic Forest region, aiming to testwhether loss of diversity and differentiation among local populations are detectable, andwhether they can be attributed to the recent effect of drift. We used 13 microsatellite locito characterize the genetic diversity present in four remnant populations, and observedmarked differentiation among them, with evidence of recent allelic loss in local areas.Although some migrant and admixed individuals were identified, our results indicatethat recent large-scale habitat removal and fragmentation among these areas has beensufficiently strong to promote differentiation induced by drift and loss of alleles at eachsite. Low estimated effective sizes supported the inference that genetic drift could havecaused this effect within a short time frame. These results indicate that jaguars ability toeffectively disperse across the human-dominated landscapes that separate the fragmentsis currently very limited, and that each fragment contains a small, isolated populationthat is already suffering from the effects of genetic drift.