Remaining genetic diversity in Brazilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus)
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The Brazilian Merganser is a very rare and threatened species that nowadays inhabits only a few protected areas and their surroundings in the Brazilian territory. In order to estimate the remaining genetic diversity and population structure in this species, two mitochondrial genes were sequenced in 39 individuals belonging to two populations and in one individual collected in Argentina in 1950. We found a highly significant divergence between two major remaining populations of Mergus octosetaceus, which suggests a historical population structure in this species. Furthermore, two deeply divergent lineages were found in a single location, which could due to current or historical secondary contact. Based on the available genetic data, we point out future directions which would contribute to design strategies for conservation and management of this threatened species.
KeywordsMergus octosetaceus Conservation Genetic diversity
We thank the Specialist Work Group for the Conservation of Brazilian Merganser for valuable discussions and opinions on this manuscript. We also thank all the staff from Instituto Terra Brasilis and Funatura (Vivian S. Braz and Gislaine Disconzi) for collecting the samples at Serra da Canastra and Chapada dos Veadeiros, respectively; Dario A. Lijtmaerand and Pablo Tubaro for providing the samples from Argentina, Bradley C. Livezey for sending copies of his papers, and Geoff M. Hilton and Paulo de Tarso Z. Antas for useful suggestions that greatly improved this manuscript. The present study received grants from FAPEMIG, CNPq, Petrobras Ambiental and Fundação O Boticário de Conservação da Natureza, and followed all ethical guidelines and legal requirements of Brazil for sampling and studying an endangered species.
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