Data from: Do rivers influence fine-scale population genetic structure of tigers in the Sundarbans?
Aziz, M. Abdul et al. (2018), Data from: Do rivers influence fine-scale population genetic structure of tigers in the Sundarbans?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3f1647m
Global tiger Panthera tigris populations mostly survive within the geographically fragmented forest patches, thereby limited genetic exchange between isolated populations. Assessing the genetic status of these populations can reveal the effects of dispersal barriers and provide critical insights to guide future conservation actions. Using non-invasively collected biological samples, we investigated fine-scale genetic structure of tigers in the Sundarbans mangrove forests intersected by the complex river systems, and which holds one of the largest global tiger populations. We genotyped 52 tiger samples at 10 polymorphic microsatellite loci, and sequenced 33 of them for a total of 1,263 base-pairs at four mitochondrial gene fragments. Microsatellite analyses exhibit a signature of fine-scale genetic structure, which might have been the consequence of limited tiger dispersal due to wide rivers across the Sundarbans. Similarly, mitochondrial data show a historic pattern of population isolation that might be due to wider rivers across the entire Sundarbans shared by Bangladesh and India. Given the intrinsic nature of the mangrove habitat embedded with numerous rivers, increased commercial traffic and human activities may further impede tiger dispersal across wide rivers, escalating further genetic isolation of the Sundarbans tigers.