Data from: Reduced genetic diversity and increased dispersal in Guigna (Leopardus guigna) in Chilean fragmented landscapes
Napolitano, Constanza et al. (2015), Data from: Reduced genetic diversity and increased dispersal in Guigna (Leopardus guigna) in Chilean fragmented landscapes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.65pm3
Landscape fragmentation is often a major cause of species extinction as it can affect a wide variety of ecological processes. The impact of fragmentation varies among species depending on many factors, including their life-history traits and dispersal abilities. Felids are one of the groups most threatened by fragmented landscapes because of their large home ranges, territorial behavior, and low population densities. Here, we model the impacts of habitat fragmentation on patterns of genetic diversity in the guigna (Leopardus guigna), a small felid that is closely associated with the heavily human-impacted temperate rainforests of southern South America. We assessed genetic variation in 1798 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA sequences, 15 microsatellite loci, and 2 sex chromosome genes and estimated genetic diversity, kinship, inbreeding, and dispersal in 38 individuals from landscapes with differing degrees of fragmentation on Chiloé Island in southern Chile. Increased fragmentation was associated with reduced genetic diversity, but not with increased kinship or inbreeding. However, in fragmented landscapes, there was a weaker negative correlation between pairwise kinship and geographic distance, suggesting increased dispersal distances. These results highlight the importance of biological corridors to maximize connectivity in fragmented landscapes and contribute to our understanding of the broader genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation, especially for forest-specialist carnivores.