Population history, phylogeography, and conservation genetics of the last Neotropical mega-herbivore, the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
Benoit de Thoisy, Anders Goncalves da Silva, Manuel Ruiz-Garcia, Andres Tapia, Oswaldo Ramirez, Margarita Arana, Viviana Quse, Cesar Paz-y-Mino, Mathias Tobler, Carlos Pedraza, Anne Lavergne
BMC Evolutionary Biology | BMC | Published : 2010
BACKGROUND: Understanding the forces that shaped Neotropical diversity is central issue to explain tropical biodiversity and inform conservation action; yet few studies have examined large, widespread species. Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrrestris, Perissodactyla, Tapiridae) is the largest Neotropical herbivore whose ancestors arrived in South America during the Great American Biotic Interchange. A Pleistocene diversification is inferred for the genus Tapirus from the fossil record, but only two species survived the Pleistocene megafauna extinction. Here, we investigate the history of lowland tapir as revealed by variation at the mitochondrial gene Cytochrome b, compare it to the fossil data, a..View full abstract
The study was funded by the project SPECIES, funded by WWF Network, European Funds (FEDER), FFEM, the DGIS and the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research andd by the ODEPLAN-UC-PUCE project. Argentinean samples were kindly provided by Zoologico de Roque Saenz Pena; Granja La Esmeralda, and Centro de Rescate de Fauna Autoctona. A. Tapia performed this work to fulfill partial requirements for a M.Sc. degree in Biodiversity in Tropical Areas and its Conservation at the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo (UIMP, Spain), a Master's Programme funded by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain) and carried out at the Universidad Central del Ecuador. We would like to thank Dr. Anna Neuheimer and four anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group for promoting tapir conservation and creating the forums that allowed this study to flourish.