Limits...
Genetic censusing identifies an unexpectedly sizeable population of an endangered large mammal in a fragmented forest landscape.

McCarthy MS, Lester JD, Howe EJ, Arandjelovic M, Stanford CB, Vigilant L - BMC Ecol. (2015)

Bottom Line: From 2011 through 2013, we noninvasively collected 865 chimpanzee fecal samples across 633 km(2) and successfully genotyped 662 (77%) at up to 14 microsatellite loci.Our results further imply that elusive and rare species may adapt to degraded habitats more successfully than previously believed.Their long-term persistence is unlikely, however, if protection is not afforded to them and habitat loss continues unabated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 107, Los Angeles, CA, 90089-0371, USA. msmccart@usc.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: As habitat degradation and fragmentation continue to impact wildlife populations around the world, it is critical to understand the behavioral flexibility of species in these environments. In Uganda, the mostly unprotected forest fragment landscape between the Budongo and Bugoma Forests is a potential corridor for chimpanzees, yet little is known about the status of chimpanzee populations in these fragments.

Results: From 2011 through 2013, we noninvasively collected 865 chimpanzee fecal samples across 633 km(2) and successfully genotyped 662 (77%) at up to 14 microsatellite loci. These genotypes corresponded to 182 chimpanzees, with a mean of 3.5 captures per individual. We obtained population size estimates of 256 (95% confidence interval 246-321) and 319 (288-357) chimpanzees using capture-with-replacement and spatially explicit capture-recapture models, respectively. The spatial clustering of associated genotypes suggests the presence of at least nine communities containing a minimum of 8-33 individuals each. Putative community distributions defined by the locations of associated genotypes correspond well with the distribution of 14 Y-chromosome haplotypes.

Conclusions: These census figures are more than three times greater than a previous estimate based on an extrapolation from small-scale nest count surveys that tend to underestimate population size. The distribution of genotype clusters and Y-chromosome haplotypes together indicate the presence of numerous male philopatric chimpanzee communities throughout the corridor habitat. Our findings demonstrate that, despite extensive habitat loss and fragmentation, chimpanzees remain widely distributed and exhibit distinct community home ranges. Our results further imply that elusive and rare species may adapt to degraded habitats more successfully than previously believed. Their long-term persistence is unlikely, however, if protection is not afforded to them and habitat loss continues unabated.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of the study area in Uganda. The inset map displays the landscape’s location within Uganda. Green indicates forest cover during the study period.
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Fig1: Map of the study area in Uganda. The inset map displays the landscape’s location within Uganda. Green indicates forest cover during the study period.

Mentions: Data were collected in Hoima and Masindi Districts, Uganda, in the corridor region between the Budongo and Bugoma Forests (1°37′–1°68′N and 31°1′–31°6′E; Figure 1). Both forests are classified as medium-altitude, moist semi-deciduous forests [58, 59]. The Budongo Forest Reserve covers 428 km2, while the Bugoma Forest Reserve measures 411 km2 [54, 60]. The region between these forests, which broadly measures approximately 40 km long by 30 km wide, is a mosaic habitat composed of agricultural land, villages, riparian forest fragments, and grasslands. These riparian forests occur mainly along the Waki, Hoima, and Rwamatonga Rivers and their tributaries [55]. Pollen and climatic data indicate that the Budongo Forest has been a standalone forest block for thousands of years, and the region to its south likely existed as a natural mosaic habitat throughout that time [61]. In recent decades, however, human populations have grown substantially, leading to the extensive conversion of unprotected riparian forests for commercial and subsistence agriculture [16, 62].Figure 1


Genetic censusing identifies an unexpectedly sizeable population of an endangered large mammal in a fragmented forest landscape.

McCarthy MS, Lester JD, Howe EJ, Arandjelovic M, Stanford CB, Vigilant L - BMC Ecol. (2015)

Map of the study area in Uganda. The inset map displays the landscape’s location within Uganda. Green indicates forest cover during the study period.
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4549125&req=5

Fig1: Map of the study area in Uganda. The inset map displays the landscape’s location within Uganda. Green indicates forest cover during the study period.
Mentions: Data were collected in Hoima and Masindi Districts, Uganda, in the corridor region between the Budongo and Bugoma Forests (1°37′–1°68′N and 31°1′–31°6′E; Figure 1). Both forests are classified as medium-altitude, moist semi-deciduous forests [58, 59]. The Budongo Forest Reserve covers 428 km2, while the Bugoma Forest Reserve measures 411 km2 [54, 60]. The region between these forests, which broadly measures approximately 40 km long by 30 km wide, is a mosaic habitat composed of agricultural land, villages, riparian forest fragments, and grasslands. These riparian forests occur mainly along the Waki, Hoima, and Rwamatonga Rivers and their tributaries [55]. Pollen and climatic data indicate that the Budongo Forest has been a standalone forest block for thousands of years, and the region to its south likely existed as a natural mosaic habitat throughout that time [61]. In recent decades, however, human populations have grown substantially, leading to the extensive conversion of unprotected riparian forests for commercial and subsistence agriculture [16, 62].Figure 1

Bottom Line: From 2011 through 2013, we noninvasively collected 865 chimpanzee fecal samples across 633 km(2) and successfully genotyped 662 (77%) at up to 14 microsatellite loci.Our results further imply that elusive and rare species may adapt to degraded habitats more successfully than previously believed.Their long-term persistence is unlikely, however, if protection is not afforded to them and habitat loss continues unabated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 107, Los Angeles, CA, 90089-0371, USA. msmccart@usc.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: As habitat degradation and fragmentation continue to impact wildlife populations around the world, it is critical to understand the behavioral flexibility of species in these environments. In Uganda, the mostly unprotected forest fragment landscape between the Budongo and Bugoma Forests is a potential corridor for chimpanzees, yet little is known about the status of chimpanzee populations in these fragments.

Results: From 2011 through 2013, we noninvasively collected 865 chimpanzee fecal samples across 633 km(2) and successfully genotyped 662 (77%) at up to 14 microsatellite loci. These genotypes corresponded to 182 chimpanzees, with a mean of 3.5 captures per individual. We obtained population size estimates of 256 (95% confidence interval 246-321) and 319 (288-357) chimpanzees using capture-with-replacement and spatially explicit capture-recapture models, respectively. The spatial clustering of associated genotypes suggests the presence of at least nine communities containing a minimum of 8-33 individuals each. Putative community distributions defined by the locations of associated genotypes correspond well with the distribution of 14 Y-chromosome haplotypes.

Conclusions: These census figures are more than three times greater than a previous estimate based on an extrapolation from small-scale nest count surveys that tend to underestimate population size. The distribution of genotype clusters and Y-chromosome haplotypes together indicate the presence of numerous male philopatric chimpanzee communities throughout the corridor habitat. Our findings demonstrate that, despite extensive habitat loss and fragmentation, chimpanzees remain widely distributed and exhibit distinct community home ranges. Our results further imply that elusive and rare species may adapt to degraded habitats more successfully than previously believed. Their long-term persistence is unlikely, however, if protection is not afforded to them and habitat loss continues unabated.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus