Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Genetic differences among monkeys in Tanzania show troubling pattern

Research taps region's landscapes to explain how human activities are affecting an already endangered species

Date:October 5, 2015

Source:University of Oregon

An endangered monkey species in Tanzania is living in geographical pockets that are becoming isolated from one another. The situation, researchers say, is mostly driven by the monkeys' proximity to villages and the deliberate burning of forests to make way for crops and pastures.

An international team, led by Maria Jose Ruiz-Lopez, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oregon, combed five distinct forested areas from 2011 to 2012. Gathered were 170 fecal samples of the Udzungwa red colobus monkey (Procolobus gordonorum), for DNA analyses. These monkeys are considered an indicator species of ecological change.

The region studied has fertile soils and forests scattered in valleys and along mountain ridges in the Eastern Arc Mountains, part of a vast region known as the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot. It is home to many plants and animals that live nowhere else in the world.

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