Estimating dispersal and gene flow in the neotropical freshwater turtle (Hydromedusa maximiliani; Chelidae) by combining ecological and genetic methods
Hydromedusa maximiliani is a vulnerable neotropical freshwater turtle endemic to mountainous regions of the Atlantic rainforest in southeastern Brazil. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) was used to estimate the gene flow and dispersal for individuals inhabiting rivers and streams within a drainage. Nine primers generated 27 scoreable bands, of which 9 (33%) were polymorphic and produced 12 RAPD phenotypes. The gene flow estimates ( Nm) among turtles inhabiting different rivers and streams were variable, ranging from 0.09 to 3.00 (mean: 0.60). For some loci, the rates of gene flow could offset population differentiation ( Nm> 1), whereas for others random genetic drift could result in population divergence ( Nm< 1). Since the genetic variation of this turtle seems to be structured according to the natural hierarchical system of rivers and streams within drainages, management programs involving translocations between different regions across the geographical range of H. maximiliani should be viewed with caution.

Apoio financeiro: CNPq, FAPESP, FAEP/UNICAMP


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