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Population genetic patterns among social groups of the endangered Central American spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) in a human-dominated landscape

Hagell, Suzanne and Whipple, Amy V. and Chambers, Carol L. (2013) Population genetic patterns among social groups of the endangered Central American spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) in a human-dominated landscape. Ecology and Evolution, 3 (5). pp. 1388-1399. ISSN 2045-7758

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.547


Spider monkeys (Genus: Ateles) are a widespread Neotropical primate with a highly plastic socioecological strategy. However, the Central American species, Ateles geoffroyi, was recently re-listed as endangered due to the accelerated loss of forest across the subcontinent. There is inconsistent evidence that spider monkey populations could persist when actively protected, but their long-term viability in unprotected, human-dominated landscapes is not known. We analyzed noninvasive genetic samples from 185 individuals in 14 putative social groups on the Rivas Isthmus in southwestern Nicaragua. We found evidence of weak but significant genetic structure in the mitochondrial control region and in eight nuclear microsatellite loci plus negative spatial autocorrelation in Fst and kinship. The overall pattern suggests strong localized mating and at least historical female-biased dispersal, as is expected for this species. Heterozygosity was significantly lower than expected under random mating and lower than that found in other spider monkey populations, possibly reflecting a recent decline in genetic diversity and a threat from inbreeding. We conclude that despite a long history of human disturbance on this landscape, spider monkeys were until recently successful at maintaining gene flow. We consider the recent decline to be further indication of accelerated anthropogenic disturbance, but also of an opportunity to conserve native biodiversity. Spider monkeys are one of many wildlife species in Central America that is threatened by land cover change, and an apt example of how landscape-scale conservation planning could be used to ensure long-term persistence.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Authors retain copyright. Creative Commons Attribution License.
ID number or DOI: 10.1002/ece3.547
Keywords: 20-1st century; America; Animal ecology; Animal Ecology (ZZ332); Animals; Ateles; Ateles geoffroyi; autocorrelation; Behavior; Behaviour (Wild Animals) (YY500) (New March 2000); Biological Resources (Animal) (PP710); CACM; Cebidae; Central America; Chordata; computer-program; conservation; Developing Countries; differentiation; Endangered species; eukaryotes; forests; Forests and Forest Trees (Biology and Ecology) (KK100); f-statistics; Gene Flow; genetic diversity; Genetics and Molecular Genetics (Wild Animals) (YY300) (New March 2000); heterozygosity; human activity; human-dominated landscape; inbreeding; inbreeding depression; Land Resources (PP300); landscape; Latin America; loci; mammals; mesoamerican primates; microsatellite data; microsatellites; minisatellites; mitochondria; Nicaragua; Population genetics; primates; social behavior; social behaviour; software; spatial genetic structure; Taxonomy and Evolution (ZZ380); threatened species; Threshold Countries; Tropical dry forests; Vertebrates; wild animals; Wildlife conservation; Wildlife management; ; ateles geoffroyi; Conservation; human-dominated landscape; inbreeding; Microsatellites; spatial genetic structure
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Research Centers > Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > School of Forestry
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2015 01:21
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/663

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