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Dias G.,University of Porto | Beltran J.F.,University of Seville | Tejedo M.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Benitez M.,University of Granada | And 3 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2015

Habitat fragmentation may involve a loss of genetic diversity and increments the vulnerability to species persistence. It could be a particular issue when coupled with other negative factors as the predicted climatic changes and the emergence of infectious diseases. In Southern Iberian Peninsula several endemic amphibian species have confined and fragmented distributions, including the Betic midwife toad Alytes dickhilleni. Herein, we present the first range-wide assessment of genetic diversity and structure in this species, using mitochondrial and microsatellite data. A mitochondrial fragment of the ND4 gene was amplified for 65 individuals and a set of 20 microsatellite loci, specifically developed for this species, was genotyped for 490 individuals from several sampling sites distributed across the species entire range. While both markers revealed high genetic diversity, only for microsatellites a marked genetic substructure was apparent. Our results evidence low levels of gene flow, suggesting the persistence of the species in fragmented habitats for several generations and a very limited connectivity between most of mountain ranges. The high diversity within A. dickhilleni populations could help to respond to the emergence of new diseases and to the predicted effects of climatic changes in Southeastern Iberian Peninsula. We hypothesize that the lack of gene flow is due to the absence of available breeding habitats and recommend that future management efforts of A. dickhilleni include the creation and maintenance of aquatic breeding habitats in a way that most of genetic diversity is preserved. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Alasaad S.,CSIC - Doñana Biological Station | Granados J.E.,Espacio Natural de Sierra Nevada | Fandos P.,Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Del Agua | Cano-Manuel F.-J.,Espacio Natural de Sierra Nevada | And 2 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Wildlife radio tracking has gained popularity during the recent past. Ecologists and conservationists use radio-collars for different purposes: animal movement monitoring, home range, productivity, population estimation, behaviour, habitat use, survival, and predator-prey interaction, among others. The aim of our present study is to highlight the application of radio-collars for wildlife diseases monitoring. The spread of wildlife diseases and the efficacy of management actions for controlling them propose serious challenges for ecologists and conservationists, since it is difficult to re-capture (or simply observe) the same animal in pre-determined temporal interval, but such difficulty is overcome by the use of gps-gsm radio collars. Methods. In the present study we report, for the first time to our knowledge, the use of radio-collars in the monitoring of Iberian ibex affected by Sarcoptes scabiei in Sierra Nevada mountain range, Spain. Twenty-five moderate or slightly mangy animals were radio-collared between 2006 and 2013. Results: The radio-collars allowed us to confirm the presence of resistance to S. scabiei within Iberian ibex population. Twenty (80%) of the collared animals recovered totally from mange, while the disease progressed in the other five Iberian ibex (20% of the collared animals) and the animals died. The average estimated recovery time of the resistant animals was 245 ± 277 days, and the estimated average survival time of the non-resistant Iberian ibex was 121 ± 71 days. Non-resistant animals survived at least 100 days, while all of them died with less than 200 days. Sixty per cent of the resistant animals were recovered with less than 200 days. Conclusions: We report, for the first time, the successful use of radio collars for wildlife diseases monitoring using Iberian ibex/S. scabiei as a model. By using radio collars we documented that most of the Sarcoptes-infected Iberian ibex are resistant to this disease, and we estimated the average time for Iberian ibex recovering from mange infection and the average survival time of the non-resistant ones. We expect wider use of radio-collars for wild animals diseases monitoring, affected/not-affected animals interaction, and treatment efficacy, among others. © 2013 Alasaad et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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