Conservation genetics of the Bornean elephant (Elephas Maximus) in Sabah

Nurzhafarina Othman, (2010) Conservation genetics of the Bornean elephant (Elephas Maximus) in Sabah. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.


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The Bornean elephant was claimed to be native to Borneo since its Pleistocene migration; when the Sunda shelf was exposed allowing the migration of elephants from mainland Asia to the Bornean landmass. As the sea levels eventually raised creating Borneo as an island, this population is now isolated from other Asian elephant populations. It therefore is crucial to have an idea on its genetic diversity to ensure the best conservation and management plan on this species. Previous study showed that the Bornean elephant has low genetic diversity to be compared to other Asian elephant population and this work is meant to relook at the issue by both increasing the number of samples and expanding the sampling area through all of its known range in Borneo. From 2005 to 2007,779 dung samples have been collected from all elephant ranges in Sabah, mainly in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Maliau Basin, and the forest reserves of Deramakot, Ulu Segama-Malua, Kalabakan, Gunung Rara and Kuamut. DNA were extracted from 90% of the samples. Forty seven dung samples have been sequenced using the same fragment of mitochondrial DNA than was previously used in a joint study by Columbia University, Sabah Wildlife Department and WWFMalaysia. Only one haplotype was found, which might indicate that this population was introduced to the Borneo Island. A total of 289 dung samples were genotyped for 18 nuclear markers to identify individuals and characterised the genetic diversity within and the genetic differentiation between sub-populations in Sabah. Results showed that there is a very low genetic diversity in the Bornean elephant population, with a mean number of alleles (MNA) per locus of two, a mean expected of 0.30 and a mean observed heterozygosity of 0.21. Lower Kinabatangan showed the highest genetic diversity (MNA= 3.3) and Maliau Basin has the lowest genetic diversity (MNA= 1.6). Based on the genetic results from this study and the historical events as elucidated by Cranbrook et a/. (2008), I propose a new revision of Fernando et a/. (2003b) which claims that the Asian elephant in Borneo is native to the island. I discuss these results and put them in a broader context of population management and conservation."

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions: SCHOOL > Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Date Deposited: 13 May 2013 05:43
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 07:40

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