Local and regional scale genetic variation in the Cape dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus

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dc.contributor.author Visser, Jacobus Hendrik
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Jansen van Vuuren, Bettine J.
dc.contributor.editor Roca, Alfred L.
dc.date.accessioned 2014-11-03T10:08:42Z
dc.date.available 2014-11-03T10:08:42Z
dc.date.issued 2014-09-07
dc.description.abstract The distribution of genetic variation is determined through the interaction of life history, morphology and habitat specificity of a species in conjunction with landscape structure. While numerous studies have investigated this interplay of factors in species inhabiting aquatic, riverine, terrestrial, arboreal and saxicolous systems, the fossorial system has remained largely unexplored. In this study we attempt to elucidate the impacts of a subterranean lifestyle coupled with a heterogeneous landscape on genetic partitioning by using a subterranean mammal species, the Cape dune mole-rat (Bathyergus suillus), as our model. Bathyergus suillus is one of a few mammal species endemic to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of the Western Cape of South Africa. Its distribution is fragmented by rivers and mountains; both geographic phenomena that may act as geographical barriers to gene-flow. Using two mitochondrial fragments (cytochrome b and control region) as well as nine microsatellite loci, we determined the phylogeographic structure and gene-flow patterns at two different spatial scales (local and regional). Furthermore, we investigated genetic differentiation between populations and applied Bayesian clustering and assignment approaches to our data. Nearly every population formed a genetically unique entity with significant genetic structure evident across geographic barriers such as rivers (Berg, Verlorenvlei, Breede and Gourits Rivers), mountains (Piketberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains) and with geographic distance at both spatial scales. Surprisingly, B. suillus was found to be paraphyletic with respect to its sister species, B. janetta–a result largely overlooked by previous studies on these taxa. A systematic revision of the genus Bathyergus is therefore necessary. This study provides a valuable insight into how the biology, life-history and habitat specificity of animals inhabiting a fossorial system may act in concert with the structure of the surrounding landscape to influence genetic distinctiveness and ultimately speciation. en_US
dc.description.librarian am2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship A Centre for Invasion Biology stipend to BJVV. en_US
dc.description.uri http://www.plosone.org en_US
dc.identifier.citation Visser JH, Bennett NC & Jansen van Vuuren B 2014, 'Local and regional scale genetic variation in the Cape dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus', PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 9, art. e107226, pp. 1-13. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107226 en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0107226
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/42462
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.rights © 2014 Visser et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_US
dc.subject Landscape structure en_US
dc.subject Cape dune mole-rat (Bathyergus suillus) en_US
dc.subject Subterranean lifestyle en_US
dc.subject Genetic partitioning en_US
dc.title Local and regional scale genetic variation in the Cape dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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