Landscape genetics of mountain lions ( Puma concolor) in southern Brazil

Landscape genetics of mountain lions ( Puma concolor) in southern Brazil,10.1016/j.mambio.2010.08.002,Mammalian Biology,Camila Schlieper Castilho,Luiz

Landscape genetics of mountain lions ( Puma concolor) in southern Brazil  
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It is suggested that mountain lions have suffered a bottleneck and lost their genetic diversity in an area in southern Brazil. In this study, we correlated landscape connectivity and patterns of gene flow to identify landscape permeability and possible sources of migrants for the population of mountain lions in southern Brazil, using circuit theory. Population structure was analyzed with Bayesian methods, and density and parentage relationships were also estimated, to evaluate the population genetic profile. We did not find genetic structure between samples, and landscape analysis indicated that all individuals were connected by areas that are permeable to mountain lion movements. The estimated population density was low, 0.09 and 0.32mountain lions/100km2 (Ne/N=0.11 and Ne/N=0.4, respectively). Parentage results indicated that individuals killed in the same spot were not related, suggesting that mountain lions are still able to disperse through the landscape. Evidence indicates that severe habitat loss and consequent illegal hunting were responsible for a bottleneck and consequent loss of genetic variability, we demonstrated that the landscape still allows mountain lions to move, and that protected areas in southern Brazil may be acting as a source of migrants. This information indicates that conservation actions to reduce illegal hunting and to monitor protected areas are important to understand the impact of hunted areas on source areas.
Journal: Mammalian Biology - MAMM BIOL , vol. 76, no. 4, pp. 476-483, 2011
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