Abstract # 103:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 02:45 PM-03:00 PM: (National Ballroom Salon B) Oral Presentation


A. L. Baden1,2,3, A. N. Mancini2,3, S. Federman4, J. M. Kamilar5, S. M. Holmes6, S. E. Johnson6, E. E. Louis, Jr.7 and B. J. Bradley8
1Department of Anthropology, Hunter College of City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA, 2The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 3The New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, 4Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 5Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, 6Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, 7Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, NE, 8Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
     Madagascar’s biota is characterized by exceptional species diversity, much of which is threatened by habitat fragmentation due to human land use practices. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) are Critically Endangered primates that thrive almost exclusively in primary rainforest habitats. Recent studies have found geographic variation in the genetic distance and diversity among populations; however, the primary landscape drivers of these observed phenomena have not been discerned. Landscape genetic analyses - which use spatial modeling to identify how landscape features affect distribution of genetic variation - are useful to clarify these uncertainties. We employed a new landscape genetics approach that optimizes resistance surfaces using genetic algorithms to evaluate the impacts of natural and anthropogenic factors on genetic distance among 18 V. variegata sampling localities throughout Madagascar’s eastern rainforest corridor. Resistance surfaces were optimized for five landscape features and the best surface was chosen using Akaike information criterion (AIC). Our results indicate that a composite surface including proximity to villages and habitat type (AIC = -450) explained significantly more variation in the observed genetic structure in V. variegata than geographic distance (AIC = -433), as well as either surface independently (AIC = -442 and -446, respectively). These results demonstrate that human activity has significantly impacted the genetic structure of this Critically Endangered lemur and highlight the need for habitat restoration in areas of high conservation value.