Morphometric and genetic differentiation among populations of flat-headed cusimanse (Crossarchus platycephalus) in Nigeria.
ABSTRACT: Geographic barriers can partition genetic diversity among populations and drive evolutionary divergence between populations, promoting the speciation process and affecting conservation goals. We integrated morphological and genomic data to assess the distribution of variation in the flat-headed cusimanse (Crossarchus platycephalus), a species of least conservation concern, on either side of the River Niger in Nigeria. Ecological disturbances affect the conservation status of many other animals in this region. The two populations were differentiated in the snout and fore limbs, with greater morphological diversity in the western population. We used Restriction site Associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) and identified two genotypic clusters in a STRUCTURE analysis. Individuals from the eastern population are almost entirely assigned to one cluster, whereas genotypes from the western population are a mixture of the two clusters. The population from west of the River Niger also had higher heterozygosity. The morphological and population genetic data are therefore in agreement that the population from west of the River Niger is more diverse than the eastern population, and the eastern population contains a subset of the genetic variation found in the western population. Our results demonstrate that combining morphological and genotypic measures of diversity can provide a congruent picture of the distribution of intraspecific variation. The results also suggest that future work should explore the role of the River Niger as a natural barrier to migration in Nigeria.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can be divided into four subspecies. Substantial phylogenetic evidence suggests that these subspecies can be grouped into two distinct lineages: a western African group that includes P. t. verus and P. t. ellioti and a central/eastern African group that includes P. t. troglodytes and P. t. schweinfurthii. The geographic division of these two lineages occurs in Cameroon, where the rages of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to converge at the Sanaga River. Remarkably, few population genetic studies have included wild chimpanzees from this region. RESULTS:We analyzed microsatellite genotypes of 187 wild, unrelated chimpanzees, and mitochondrial control region sequencing data from 604 chimpanzees. We found that chimpanzees in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria comprise at least two, and likely three populations. Both the mtDNA and microsatellite data suggest that there is a primary separation of P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon from P. t. ellioti north and west of the Sanaga River. These two populations split ~200-250 thousand years ago (kya), but have exchanged one migrant per generation since separating. In addition, P. t. ellioti consists of two populations that split from one another ~4 kya. One population is located in the rainforests of western Cameroon and eastern Nigeria, whereas the second population appears to be confined to a savannah-woodland mosaic in central Cameroon. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that there are as many as three genetically distinct populations of chimpanzees in Cameroon and eastern Nigeria. P. t. troglodytes in southern Cameroon comprises one population that is separated from two populations of P. t. ellioti in western and central Cameroon, respectively. P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes appear to be characterized by a pattern of isolation-with-migration, and thus, we propose that neutral processes alone can not explain the differentiation of P. t. ellioti and P. t. troglodytes.
Project description:Cryptic genetic diversity and erroneous morphological species determination represent frequent problems in biodiversity research. Here, examination of 138 specimens of Synodontis (Mochokidae, Siluriformes) from the Nile River and Lake Turkana revealed the presence of both S. schall-like and S. frontosus-like morphotypes, with a phenotypic gradient between them. We concluded phylogenetic and population genetic analyses based on two mitochondrial and one nuclear marker including 131 coxI (565?bp), 96 cytb (973?bp) and 19 RAG2 (896?bp) sequences from the Nile-Turkana population, plus additional GenBank data of Synodontis spp. Whilst nuclear data were inconclusive, mitochondrial sequences suggested that both morphotypes and intermediate forms are conspecific. The results imply probable synonymy of S. frontosus with S. schall. Conversely, a strong biogeographical signal was revealed among widely distributed and supposedly conspecific S. schall-like catfish of the Nilo-Sudanian ichthyological province. Synodontis schall sensu stricto (=Eastern clade), as defined by type locality in the Nile, is apparently restricted to the eastern part of the Nilo-Sudanian ichthyological province (e.g. Nile, Turkana, Chad). Synodontis schall Western clade (Senegambia, Niger, Chad) most probably represents a cryptic taxon, unrecognized thus far due to the absence of distinctive morphological differences.
Project description:Mastomys natalensis rodents are natural hosts for Lassa virus (LASV). Detection of LASV in 2 mitochondrial phylogroups of the rodent near the Niger and Benue Rivers in Nigeria underlines the potential for LASV emergence in fresh phylogroups of this rodent. A Mobala-like sequence was also detected in eastern Nigeria.
Project description:The genus Calotriton includes two species of newts highly adapted to live in cold and fast-flowing mountain springs. The Pyrenean brook newt (Calotriton asper), restricted to the Pyrenean region, and the Montseny brook newt (Calotriton arnoldi), endemic to the Montseny massif and one of the most endangered amphibian species in Europe. In the present manuscript, we use an integrative approach including species distribution modeling (SDM), molecular analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data and morphology to unravel the historical processes that have contributed to shaping the biogeography and genetic structure of the genus Calotriton, with special emphasis on the conservation of C. arnoldi. The results of the molecular analyses confirm that, despite having originated recently, being ecologically similar and geographically very close, there is no signal of hybridization between C. asper and C. arnoldi. SDM results suggest that tough environmental conditions on mountains tops during glacial periods, together with subsequent warmer periods could have prevented the contact between the two species. Within the critically endangered C. arnoldi, a high genetic structure is revealed despite its extremely small distribution range compared to C. asper. Haplotype networks, AMOVA and SAMOVA analyses suggest that two distinct groups of populations can be clearly differentiated with absence of gene flow. This is in concordance with morphological differentiation and correlates with its geographical distribution, as the two groups are situated on the eastern and western sides of a river valley that acts as a barrier. The genetic and morphological results are highly important for the ongoing conservation program of C. arnoldi and strongly justify the management of this species into at least two independent evolutionary significant units (eastern and western sectors) to guarantee the long-term population viability.
Project description:The definition of conservation units is crucial for the sustainable management of endangered species, though particularly challenging when recent and past anthropogenic and natural gene flow might have played a role. The conservation of the European grayling, Thymallus thymallus, is particularly complex in its southern distribution area, where the Adriatic evolutionary lineage is endangered by a long history of anthropogenic disturbance, intensive stocking and potentially widespread genetic introgression. We provide mtDNA sequence and microsatellite data of 683 grayling from 30 sites of Adriatic as well as Danubian and Atlantic origin. We apply Bayesian clustering and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) to detect microgeographic population structure and to infer the demographic history of the Adriatic populations, to define appropriate conservation units. Varying frequencies of indigenous genetic signatures of the Adriatic grayling were revealed, spanning from marginal genetic introgression to the collapse of native gene pools. Genetic introgression involved multiple exotic source populations of Danubian and Atlantic origin, thus evidencing the negative impact of few decades of stocking. Within the Adige River system, a contact zone of western Adriatic and eastern Danubian populations was detected, with ABC analyses suggesting a historical anthropogenic origin of eastern Adige populations, most likely founded by medieval translocations. Substantial river-specific population substructure within the Adriatic grayling Evolutionary Significant Unit points to the definition of different conservation units. We finally propose a catalog of management measures, including the legal prohibition of stocking exotic grayling and the use of molecular markers in supportive- and captive-breeding programs.
Project description:The current distribution of freshwater fishes across multiple basins along Eastern Brazil can be associated to two main events: river captures or temporary paleoconnections. Apparently, river captures had a more significant role on distribution and structuring of species from upland areas, such as Glandulocauda melanopleura. Populations of this species are found in contiguous drainages in presently isolated upper parts of Rio Tietê and the coastal basins of Guaratuba, Itatinga, Itanháem, and Ribeira de Iguape, in the Atlantic Forest domain. The allopatric and disjoint distribution of G. melanopleura associated with variation of morphological characters detected among geographically isolated populations stimulated this study. Thus, an integrative approach was undertaken, including morphological and molecular data, to better understand the evolutionary history of the species and the area where it occurs. Molecular analyses based on two mitochondrial markers revealed a strong genetic structure within G. melanopleura, that allowed recognition of two lineages, one distributed in both the upper Tietê and Itanhaém and the other in the Guaratuba. Overall, morphological data revealed some intraspecific overlapping variation, indicating that all samples are conspecific. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses allied to divergence times and geomorphological information indicate that the current distribution of G. melanopleura is a result of relatively recent river captures involving the Tietê and some other coastal drainages. Although of recent origin, they occurred long enough to completely isolate these populations, since there are no haplotypes sharing between them. The conservation status of this species is also discussed, and our results corroborate the need to understand population structure for conservation planning.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The European mink (Mustela lutreola, L. 1761) is a critically endangered mustelid, which inhabits several main river drainages in Europe. Here, we assess the genetic variation of existing populations of this species, including new sampling sites and additional molecular markers (newly developed microsatellite loci specific to European mink) as compared to previous studies. Probabilistic analyses were used to examine genetic structure within and between existing populations, and to infer phylogeographic processes and past demography. RESULTS:According to both mitochondrial and nuclear microsatellite markers, Northeastern (Russia, Estonia and Belarus) and Southeastern (Romania) European populations showed the highest intraspecific diversity. In contrast, Western European (France and Spain) populations were the least polymorphic, featuring a unique mitochondrial DNA haplotype. The high differentiation values detected between Eastern and Western European populations could be the result of genetic drift in the latter due to population isolation and reduction. Genetic differences among populations were further supported by Bayesian clustering and two main groups were confirmed (Eastern vs. Western Europe) along with two contained subgroups at a more local scale (Northeastern vs. Southeastern Europe; France vs. Spain). CONCLUSIONS:Genetic data and performed analyses support a historical scenario of stable European mink populations, not affected by Quaternary climate oscillations in the Late Pleistocene, and posterior expansion events following river connections in both North- and Southeastern European populations. This suggests an eastern refuge during glacial maxima (as already proposed for boreal and continental species). In contrast, Western Europe was colonised more recently following either natural expansions or putative human introductions. Low levels of genetic diversity observed within each studied population suggest recent bottleneck events and stress the urgent need for conservation measures to counteract the demographic decline experienced by the European mink.
Project description:We present qualitative research findings on care-seeking and treatment uptake for pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria among children under 5 in Kenya, Nigeria and Niger. The study aimed to determine the barriers caregivers face in accessing treatment for these conditions; to identify local solutions that facilitate more timely access to treatment; and to present these findings as a platform from which to develop context-specific strategies to improve care-seeking for childhood illness. Kenya, Nigeria and Niger are three high burden countries with low rates of related treatment coverage, particularly in underserved areas. Data were collected in Homa Bay County in Nyanza Province, Kenya; in Kebbi and Cross River States, Nigeria; and in the Maradi and Tillabéri regions of Niger. Primary caregivers of children under 5 who did not regularly engage with health services or present their child at a health facility during illness episodes were purposively selected for interview. Data underwent rigorous thematic analysis. We organise the identified barriers and related solutions by theme: financial barriers; distance/location of health facilities; socio-cultural barriers and gender dynamics; knowledge and information barriers; and health facility deterrents. The relative importance of each differed by locality. Participant suggested solutions ranged from community-level actions to facility-level and more policy-oriented actions, plus actions to change underlying problems such as social perceptions and practices and gender dynamics. We discuss the feasibility and implications of these suggested solutions. Given the high burden of childhood morbidity and mortality due to pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria in Kenya, Nigeria and Niger, this study provides important insights relating to demand-side barriers and locally proposed solutions. Significant advancements are possible when communities participate in both problem identification and resolution, and are engaged as important partners in improving child health and survival.
Project description:The expansion of the Bantu-speaking people (EBSP) during the past 3000-5000 years is an event of great importance in the history of humanity. Anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and, in recent decades, genetics have been used to elucidate some of the events and processes involved. Although it is generally accepted that the EBSP has its origin in the so-called Bantu Homeland situated in the area of the border between Nigeria and the Grassfields of Cameroon, and that it followed both western and eastern routes, much less is known about the number and dates of those expansions, if more than one. Mitochondrial, Y-chromosome and autosomal DNA analyses have been carried out in attempts to understand the demographic events that have taken place. There is an increasing evidence that the expansion was a more complex process than originally thought and that neither a single demographic event nor an early split between western and eastern groups occurred. In this study, we analysed unique event polymorphism and short tandem repeat variation in non-recombining Y-chromosome haplogroups contained within the E1b1a haplogroup, which is exclusive to individuals of recent African ancestry, in a large, geographically widely distributed, set of sub-Saharan Africans (groups=43, n=2757), all of whom, except one Nilo-Saharan-speaking group, spoke a Niger-Congo language and most a Bantu tongue. Analysis of diversity and rough estimates of times to the most recent common ancestors of haplogroups provide evidence of multiple expansions along eastern and western routes and a late, exclusively eastern route, expansion.
Project description:The phylogeography of Schizothorax waltoni, an endemic and endangered tetraploid schizothoracine fish in the Yarlung Tsangpo River (YLTR) on southern margin of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP), was investigated using two mitochondrial DNA regions and eleven microsatellite loci. Analyses of concatenated sequences of cytochrome b (1141?bp) and the control region (712?bp) revealed high haplotype diversity and moderate nucleotide diversity. High genetic diversity was observed based on microsatellite variation. Both mtDNA and microsatellite analyses revealed significant genetic differentiation between the eastern population (Mainling) and the other four populations to the west, and non-significant genetic differentiation amongst the three central populations in the west. Significant genetic differentiation was observed between the western population (Shigatse) and the three central populations based on microsatellite analyses alone. Bayesian skyline plot analyses showed that S. waltoni experienced a pronounced population expansion 0.05 to 0.10?Ma. Hierarchical structure analyses of microsatellite data indicated that S. waltoni could be split into three groups (western, central and eastern YLTR). The results indicate that three management units should be considered for S. waltoni. Our findings highlight the need for the conservation and effective management of S. waltoni, which is a key member of the endemic and highly threatened fishes of the QTP.