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Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation within the remnant populations of the endangered numbat (Marsupialia: Myrmecobiidae: Myrmecobius fasciatus)

Authors

  • L. Fumagalli,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia,
      L. Fumagalli, Institut d’Ecologie, Laboratoire de Zoologie et d’Ecologie Animale, Bâtiment de Biologie, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 21 692 41 65; E-mail:Luca.Fumagalli@ie-zea.unil.ch
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  • C. Moritz,

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia,
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  • P. Taberlet,

    1. Biologie des Populations d’Altitude, CNRS UMR 5553, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France,
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  • J. A. Friend

    1. Department of Conservation and Land Management, 120 Albany Hwy, Albany WA 6330, Australia
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L. Fumagalli, Institut d’Ecologie, Laboratoire de Zoologie et d’Ecologie Animale, Bâtiment de Biologie, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 21 692 41 65; E-mail:Luca.Fumagalli@ie-zea.unil.ch

Abstract

The numbat has been reduced to two populations in Western Australia. To better understand the effects of range reduction on gene flow and genetic variation, and to address questions crucial for the species’ management, we analysed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of free-ranging individuals and museum specimens. The results suggest recent connectivity between the remnant populations, although one of those may have lost significant amounts of genetic diversity during the recent population size reduction. We propose that for management purposes the remnant populations should be treated as a single historical lineage and that, subject to certain caveats, consideration should be given to population augmentation by translocation.

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