Population and Conservation Genetics in an Endangered Lemur, Indri indri, Across Three Forest Reserves in Madagascar
Population decline and fragmentation often lead to reduced genetic diversity and population differentiation. Habitat destruction throughout Madagascar has caused population decline and extinction of many endemic species. Lemur populations, including those of the largest extant lemur, Indri indri, have been fragmented into remaining forest patches. We assessed the level of genetic diversity in indri populations in three protected reserves by genotyping a total of 43 individuals at 17 microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity in terms of heterozygosity was high in all three reserves, with no differences between reserves. Population structure and FST analyses revealed Analamazaotra Forest Station and the Torotorofotsy Conservation Area, which are separated by ca. 18 km to be genetically differentiated from each other with some admixture. Betampona Strict Nature Reserve, which is separated from the other reserves by ca. 130 km, exhibited clear population genetic differentiation, with no signs of admixture with the other reserves. Our genetic diversity estimates are similar to those for other Indridae in similar habitats and may reflect past rather than current population processes, given that populations have declined recently. Our results suggest that Betampona may be genetically isolated and that it is important to maintain gene flow between remaining populations to prevent loss of genetic diversity for the future conservation of Indri indri.
KeywordsBottleneck Habitat fragmentation Microsatellite
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