• Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MateFrag - Impacts of habitat fragmentation on social and mating systems: testing ecological predictions for a monogamous vole through non-invasive genetics

 

Studies of the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity have revealed large impacts on species distribution and abundance patterns. Although they provide important conservation guidelines to counteract the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation, inferences from these studies are mostly correlative, and inherently unable to identify causation. A greater focus on the demographic and behavioural processes that determine species vulnerability to fragmentation is thus required to properly understand population viability in human-dominated landscapes. Key, relevant, within-population processes affecting reproductive success and thus population persistence include social interactions, mating systems, and the formation of kin-structures.

 

Our thesis is that the impacts of habitat fragmentation on species social and mating systems predict how individual behaviours impact population viability. We expect fragmentation will critically affect the population performance of species employing monogamous mating system, because such species are notoriously more susceptible to stochasticity and prone to extinction events than those species exhibiting polygamous or polygynous mating systems.

 

In this project we will use parentage and genetic relatedness analysis combined with non-invasive genetics to answer fundamental questions with populations of the monogamous Iberia-endemic Cabera vole in SW Portugal fragmented landscapes. In particular, we will use species-specific microsatellite markers and genotyping protocols recently developed and optimized for feacal samples to test the general prediction that habitat fragmentation impacts on the social structure and mating systems, reducing reproductive success, and thus the likelihood of population long-term persistence. We will deploy these techniques on a large number of archived as well as newly collected samples from landscapes differing in fragmentation lavels. We will then use both empirical- and simulation-based modelling techniques to commend conservation prescriptions for defeating the impacts of habitat fragmentation on social interactions and mating strategies employed by monogamous species in fragmented landscapes.

 
Principal Investigator:
 
 
Research Team:
 
António Paulo Pereira Mira

António Paulo Pereira Mira

Assistant Professor

 
 
 
Joana Paupério

Joana Paupério

Post-Doc Researcher

 
Paulo Célio Alves

Paulo Célio Alves

Associate Professor

 
Pedro Beja

Pedro Beja

Coordinating Researcher

 
Sara Maria Lopes dos Santos

Sara Maria Lopes dos Santos

Post-Doc Researcher

 
Soraia Barbosa

Soraia Barbosa

Post-Doc Researcher

 
 
Other Members:
Clara Maria Ferreira, Russell Alpizar-Jara
 
State:
On going
 
Proponent Institution:
InBIO/UE
 
Funded by:
FCT
 
Dates:
2015
 
Reference:
PTDC/BIA-BIC/6582/2014