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Fragmentation genetics of rainforest animals: insights from recent studies

Radespiel, Ute and Bruford, Michael William 2014. Fragmentation genetics of rainforest animals: insights from recent studies. Conservation Genetics 15 (2) , pp. 245-260. 10.1007/s10592-013-0550-3

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Habitat fragmentation is one of the most prominent effects of anthropogenic ecosystem degradation. However, despite the accumulating evidence that anthropogenic habitat fragmentation acts negatively on the dynamics and viability of many species, rainforest fragmentation can occur naturally. The need to disentangle ‘natural’ fragmentation processes from (often) very recent anthropogenic effects poses a methodological challenge in the field of conservation genetics. Additional challenges include sampling schemes that can generate false signals of population size changes or population genetic structure. Finally, limited analytical power often results from restricted sample sizes, numbers of markers, or their informativeness. We reviewed the available literature on the effects of habitat fragmentation in non-aquatic tropical animal species over the last 10 years to ask what has been learned as a result of the increasing attention paid to these methodological issues. Fifty-four studies contained relevant datasets on the question of fragmentation effects in 74 animal species. Primates (n = 18) and passerine birds (n = 17) contributed most species to the survey. Unambiguous signals of fragmentation effects were reported in 33.8 % of species, whereas the remaining species showed either equivocal (36.5 %) or no evidence (29.7 %) of fragmentation effects. Our review further reveals that uneven sampling cannot be ruled out as possible explanation for many of the reported genetic bottleneck signals and genetic structure effects. Based on the reviewed evidence, methodological (e.g. improving sampling schemes, multiple analytical approaches, added value of different markers) and conceptual recommendations offering a better understanding of general and species-specific evolutionary responses to fragmentation are formulated for future studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1566-0621
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2019 14:17

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