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Primate viability in a fragmented landscape: genetic diversity and parasite burden of long-tailed macaques and proboscis monkeys in the lower Kinabatangan floodplain, Sabah, Malaysia

Salgado Lynn, Milena 2010. Primate viability in a fragmented landscape: genetic diversity and parasite burden of long-tailed macaques and proboscis monkeys in the lower Kinabatangan floodplain, Sabah, Malaysia. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This study investigates the genetic and parasite diversity of two primate species living in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS), Sabah, Malaysia. Based on non-invasive samples (faeces), the effects of forest fragmentation and geographical barriers, especially the Kinabatangan River, on these two species of primates with different social systems and dispersal abilities were examined. While the proboscis monkey is an endangered primate, the long-tailed macaque is considered one of the most successful invasive alien species. The genetic diversity and the potential effect of the Kinabatangan River on the population structure were examined using microsatellites and a microsatellite library specific for the proboscis monkey was developed during this study. High and moderate levels of genetic diversity were found for the long-tailed macaque and the proboscis monkey respectively. As predicted from the dispersal pattern of these primates, microsatellite analysis revealed low genetic differentiation among sites, suggesting high levels of gene flow as well as regional admixture with one genetically-based cluster inferred from Bayesian analyses. In addition to the neutral genetic marker, as a preliminary approach to study adaptive genetic variation in these populations, Mhc-DRB loci were identified in both species using generalist -DRB primers. High levels of diversity and evidence of positive selection were found in the long-tailed macaque sequences, which included representatives of several -DRB loci/lineages according to phylogenetic analyses. In contrast, only five -DRB sequences were detected in the proboscis monkey, all belonging to a single -DRB locus although few, these are the first MHC reported sequences for this species. MHC variability is believed to be maintained by pathogen-driven selection, mediated either through heterozygote advantage or frequency- dependent selection. Using the same samples as for the genetic analysis, a survey of the gastrointestinal parasite fauna of both primates revealed 14 taxa. Parasite richness was higher in proboscis monkeys, and prevalence of particular parasites differed between the primates. Potential effects of natural and anthropomorphic mediated habitat fragmentation on parasite species richness, proportion of individuals with mixed infections and the prevalence of particular parasites between the two primate species were explored. Natural fragmentation (the Kinabatangan River) did not affect parasite distribution. Although it was expected that areas with high rates of human-non-human primate contact would have a positive correlation with the assessed parameters this was not always the case as host-parasite dynamics are likely to be affected by complex interactions between environmental, and host demographic, behavioural and genetic factors. The results of this study can be used as a baseline for conservation and management measures for the proboscis monkeys and long-tailed macaques of the LKWS.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
ISBN: 9781303222573
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:57

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