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Analysis of the contribution of landscape attributes on the genetic diversity of Artibeus jamaicensis Leach, 1821

Leiva-González, Elida María, Navarrete-Gutiérrez, Darío, Ruiz-Montoya, Lorena, Santos-Moreno, Antonio, Kraker-Castañeda, Cristian, García-Bautista, Maricela
Mammal research 2019 v.64 no.2 pp. 223-233
Artibeus jamaicensis, agricultural land, edge effects, flight, forests, frugivores, genetic variation, landscapes, mitochondrial DNA, models, open space, population genetics
It is commonly assumed that bats, due to their flight capacity, are not affected by landscape attributes across small geographic extensions. However, recent studies with phyllostomids have found evidence of negative responses, such as decreasing genetic diversity with decreasing forest amount, specifically in areas dominated by agricultural land. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if landscape composition and configuration could be influencing the genetic diversity of a common frugivorous bat: Artibeus jamaicensis. We worked in an area characterized by the presence of extensive agricultural land, with a trend towards open spaces of high contrast with forests. Through mtDNA control region sequences, we inferred high levels of genetic diversity in the surveyed landscapes. In order to determine a possible relationship between genetic diversity and landscape attributes, we employed a multivariate exploratory analysis that allowed us to determine the independent contribution of each variable, in a hierarchical model. We found a negative relationship between genetic diversity and total forest edge, which is a variable that reflects the degree of fragmentation. This procedure can be implemented in population genetics, allowing the incorporation of spatially explicit variables.