Conservation genetics of Association of Zoos and Aquariums and wild Matshie's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) from Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

Thomas Joseph McGreevy, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Matschie's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) population is at a critical point for assessing long-term viability; they have endured a founder effect and have low mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) diversity. The mean kinship (MK) strategy is used to preserve their genetic diversity by minimizing the overall kinship of the population; however, the MK strategy has not been evaluated in an AZA population. Wild D. matschiei is listed as endangered and genetically unique populations may warrant management as separate conservation units. My objectives were to: (i) develop molecular markers to facilitate genetic analyses, (ii) assist AZA and wild D. matschiei management decisions, and (iii) further resolve Dendrolagus molecular systematics. To achieve my objectives I analyzed DNA extracted from AZA, captive held, and wild D. matschiei, and three additional Dendrolagus taxa using microsatellite markers and two mtDNA genes. AZA D. matschiei have similar nuclear DNA genetic diversity as captive and wild D. matschiei from Papua New Guinea, and the MK strategy has maintained their genetic diversity as well as predicted by theoretical expectations. AZA D. matschiei should continue to be managed by their studbook analyses and the MK strategy. Wild D. matschiei showed evidence of phylogeographic structure, but should be managed as one conservation unit. Preliminary genetic evidence suggests D. matschiei and Lowland tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus spadix ) are sister taxa, and supports the reclassification of Golden-mantled tree kangaroo (D. goodfellowi pulcherrimus) and Ifola ( D. dorianus notatus) as species. An improved understanding of Dendrolagus genetics will contribute substantially to their conservation. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Molecular|Biology, Ecology|Biology, Genetics

Recommended Citation

Thomas Joseph McGreevy, "Conservation genetics of Association of Zoos and Aquariums and wild Matshie's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) from Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea" (2009). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3368001.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3368001

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