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Open AccessArticle

Lack of Population Genetic Structuring in Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in a Fragmented Landscape

Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, Departamento de Zootecnia, Via de Acesso Paulo Donato Castellane, s/n°, 14884-900 Jaboticabal, Brazil
Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Av. José Moreira Sobrinho, s/n°, Jequiezinho, 45200-000 Jequié, Brazil
Universidade de Brasília, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Genética e Morfologia, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, Asa Norte, 70910-900 Brasilia, Brazil
PUCRS, Faculdade de Biociências, Laboratório de Biologia Genômica e Molecular, Av. Ipiranga 6681, Prédio 12, 90619-900 Porto Alegre, Brazil
Instituto Pró-Carnívoros, 12945-010 Atibaia, Brazil
Universidade Federal de São João Del-Rei, Departamento de Ciências Naturais, Campus Dom Bosco, Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei, 36301-160 Sao Joao Del Rei, Brazil
Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, Rua Ricardo Fogarolli, 387, Vila Sao Paulo, 19280-000 Teodoro Sampaio, Brazil
Centro Nacional de Pesquisa Para a Conservação de Predadores Naturais, Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Avenida dos Bandeirantes, s/n° Balneário Municipal, 12941-680 Atibaia, Brazil
Laboratório de Biodiversidade Molecular e Citogenética, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Via Washington Luis, km 235, Caixa Postal 676, Monjolinho, 13565-905 São Carlos, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mario A. Pagnotta
Diversity 2015, 7(3), 295-306;
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 24 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Loss & Habitat Fragmentation)
Habitat fragmentation can promote patches of small and isolated populations, gene flow disruption between those populations, and reduction of local and total genetic variation. As a consequence, these small populations may go extinct in the long-term. The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), originally distributed from Texas to southern Brazil and northern Argentina, has been impacted by habitat fragmentation throughout much of its range. To test whether habitat fragmentation has already induced genetic differentiation in an area where this process has been documented for a larger felid (jaguars), we analyzed molecular variation in ocelots inhabiting two Atlantic Forest fragments, Morro do Diabo (MD) and Iguaçu Region (IR). Analyses using nine microsatellites revealed mean observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.68 and 0.70, respectively. The MD sampled population showed evidence of a genetic bottleneck under two mutational models (TPM = 0.03711 and SMM = 0.04883). Estimates of genetic structure (FST = 0.027; best fit of k = 1 with STRUCTURE) revealed no meaningful differentiation between these populations. Thus, our results indicate that the ocelot populations sampled in these fragments are still not significantly different genetically, a pattern that strongly contrasts with that previously observed in jaguars for the same comparisons. This observation is likely due to a combination of two factors: (i) larger effective population size of ocelots (relative to jaguars) in each fragment, implying a slower effect of drift-induced differentiation; and (ii) potentially some remaining permeability of the anthropogenic matrix for ocelots, as opposed to the observed lack of permeability for jaguars. The persistence of ocelot gene flow between these areas must be prioritized in long-term conservation planning on behalf of these felids. View Full-Text
Keywords: felid; habitat fragmentation; genetic diversity; bottleneck felid; habitat fragmentation; genetic diversity; bottleneck
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Figueiredo, M.G.; Cervini, M.; Rodrigues, F.P.; Eizirik, E.; Azevedo, F.C.C.; Cullen, L., Jr.; Crawshaw, P.G., Jr.; Galetti, P.M., Jr. Lack of Population Genetic Structuring in Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in a Fragmented Landscape. Diversity 2015, 7, 295-306.

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