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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Sequence variation at two mitochondrial genes in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population of Sri Lanka

  • Himesha Vandebona
  • N. C. W. Goonesekere
  • R. Tiedemann
  • W. D. Ratnasooriya
  • Maya B. GunasekeraEmail author
Original investigation

Abstract

The checking of nestboxes put up in a grid system gives a chance to estimate both relative abundance and spatial distribution of yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) in large forest areas. This is difficult to achieve using traps due to manpower that would be required. Long term investigations carried out in Lithuania at two study sites with an area of 60 and 85 ha respectively, showed that there was no relation between relative abundance of A. flavicollis in autumn and the pattern of their spatial distribution. When relative abundance of A. flavicollis was the same in different years, spatial distribution of mice could be both random and aggregated, as well as regular. The pattern of spatial distribution shown by A. flavicollis in large forest areas with a high diversity of tree-stands was related to the productivity and spatial distribution of forest trees with heavy seeds (mainly oak and hazel). In separate years mice used to occupy nestboxes at those places where a heavy seed crop was present. When crops of oak and hazel failed completely, spatial distribution patterns of A. flavicollis tended to be regular. The data obtained suggest one practical conclusion: long-term A. flavicollis population studies in small plots of forest, with a high diversity of forest stands, may only reflect the situation in these specific places and not necessarily the state of the entire A. flavicollis population.

Key words

Elephas maxim us mtDNA population genetics conservation 

Sequenzvariation in zwei mitochondrialen Genen bei asiatischen Elefanten (Elephas maximus) aus Sri Lanka

Zusammenfassung

Die Elefantenpopulation Sri Lankas, die derzeit auf etwa 4000 Individuen geschätzt wird, ist fragmentiert und beschränkt sich hauptsächlich auf einige wenige Elefantenschutzgebiete. Als Voraussetzung für zukünftige Artenschutz- und Managementmaßnahmen hat diese Untersuchung das Ziel, die genetische Populationsstruktur der Elefanten aus Sri Lanka im Hinblick auf geographische Unterschiede und das Ausmaß, genetischer Variabilität zu ermitteln. Die DNA-Sequenzvariabilität zweier mitochondrialer Gene, der NADH-Dehydrogenase-Einheit 5 (ND 5) und des Cytochrom b (Cyt b), wurde analysiert. Beide Gene wurden bei 67 Elefanten untersucht. Es fanden sich 7 verschiedene Genotypen. Die phylogenetische Analyse dieser Genotypen ergab einen eigenständigen Typen (BM6), der sich von den restlichen Genotypen im Mittel an 1,61% der Sequenzpositionen unterschied. Unsere Untersuchung bestatigt nicht die Klassifizierung der Elefantenpopulation Sri Lankas als eigene Unterart. Innerhalb Sri Lankas war die Sequenzdivergenz zwischen Elefanten unterschiedlicher geographischer Herkunft gering. Dies spricht gegen eine lange eigenständige Entwicklung regionaler Subpopulationen. Dennoch fanden sich signifikante geographische Unterschiede in der Frequenz mitochondrialer Haplotypen, was auf einen geringen gegenwartigen genetischen Austausch zwischen verschiedenen Regionen hinweist. Die genetische Variabilität in allen untersuchten Regionen war hoch. Die vermutete gegenwärtige Einschränkung weiträumigen genetischen Austauschs kann eine Folge der Fragmentierung des vormals zusammenhängenden Verbreitungsgebietes der Elefantenpopulation Sri Lankas sein.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Himesha Vandebona
    • 1
  • N. C. W. Goonesekere
    • 1
  • R. Tiedemann
    • 2
  • W. D. Ratnasooriya
    • 1
  • Maya B. Gunasekera
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ColomboColombo 3Sri Lanka
  2. 2.Institut für HaustierkundeChristian-Albrechts-Universität KielKielGermany

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