Population genetic structure of Aldabra giant tortoises

Balmer, Oliver and Ciofi, Claudio and Galbraith, David A. and Swingland, Ian R. and Zug, George R. and Caccone, Adalgisa. (2011) Population genetic structure of Aldabra giant tortoises. The journal of heredity, 102 (1). pp. 29-37.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6146232

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Evolution of population structure on islands is the result of physical processes linked to volcanism, orogenic events, changes in sea level, as well as habitat variation. We assessed patterns of genetic structure in the giant tortoise of the Aldabra atoll, where previous ecological studies suggested population subdivisions as a result of landscape discontinuity due to unsuitable habitat and island separation. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences and allelic variation at 8 microsatellite loci were conducted on tortoises sampled in 3 locations on the 2 major islands of Aldabra. We found no variation in mtDNA sequences. This pattern corroborated earlier work supporting the occurrence of a founding event during the last interglacial period and a further reduction in genetic variability during historical time. On the other hand, significant population structure recorded at nuclear loci suggested allopatric divergence possibly due to geographical barriers among islands and ecological partitions hindering tortoise movements within islands. This is the first attempt to study the population genetics of Aldabra tortoises, which are now at carrying capacity in an isolated terrestrial ecosystem where ecological factors appear to have a strong influence on population dynamics.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Ebert)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Human and Animal Health
UniBasel Contributors:Balmer, Oliver
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Genetic Association
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:27 Sep 2017 14:38
Deposited On:19 Jul 2013 07:39

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